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Searing Hot Conditions The New Normal

By Author: Kelly Sanchez
Total Articles: 41

As early as December 2018, it was predicted that the summer of 2019 would deliver punishing heat wave conditions and going by the spiralling temperatures currently being experienced across the country, the prophecy seems to be coming true. The national capital Delhi was left scalded as its experienced temperatures touching 48 degree centigrade as recently as June 10 - the hottest June day for the capital ever. Dholpur in nearby Rajasthan was worse at 51°C. It was the fourth time that the temperature crossed 50°C in June in the State, according to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

A combined effect of climate change and an evolving El-Nino is transforming this year to be the hottest ever and the trend is not gladdening. Four of the warmest years ever recorded were the last four years. The year 2018 started off with a moderate La-Nina phenomenon, which generally has a cooling effect on global climate, but is going to end up being the fourth warmest year after 2015, 2016 and 2017.

This clearly shows a warming trend. In fact, the 20 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 22 years. This trend also sits in perfectly with the emission rates of Green House Gases (GHGs) which were at a record high by end of 2018, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University in the US have also confirmed that a combination of human-caused warming and a natural upswing in temperatures increase the odds that any new El-Nino year would turn out to be the warmest ever.

Additionally, many weather forecasters around the world, including the IMD, had predicted that the development of an El-Nino phenomenon by the end of 2018 would make things unbearably hot in 2019. This pattern has already taken over. It is evident in the form of abnormally hot winter seasons for the past three to four years in a row. Continuing at this rate, the next year will be even worse and the threat to health and well-being, especially of the young and the elderly, will be devastating.

The development of these events has been evident since the later half of the last year. On November 22, 2018, the IMD observed that moderate El-Nino Southern Oscillation conditions were prevalent in the equatorial Pacific Ocean region and the El-Nino is likely to develop in the next two months.

El Nino, which is the unusual warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, further adds to the already warming temperatures. Following on this, on December 3, 2018, the IMD again stated that equatorial Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) were above average across most of the Pacific Ocean.

The climate prediction centre at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that there is an 80 per cent chance that a full-fledged El-Nino has already begun and will last till the end of February 2019. The impact of El-Nino on global weather has also got more intense on the past few occasions as a result of climate change, according to a research paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Another major indicator of the warming trend due to climate change is Ocean Heat Content (OHC). The year 2018 recorded a new high in terms of OHC since observations began in 1940.

Searing hot conditions the new normal - Heat waves are not uncommon but increasingly, they are being attributed to global warming and climate change. For more information visit: https://www.dailypioneer.com/world/page/1

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