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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet


Climate fuelled fires are forcing people to migrate in Portugal

Six years ago, a new kind of fire hit Portugal. It killed 66 people. For those lucky enough to survive, the experience still haunts them. “A huge fireball came flying down the hill onto the house,” said British expat Julie…

Debunked CO2, climate claim resurfaces online

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved. Social media users are recirculating a years-old video in which an Australian broadcaster implies the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in Earth’s atmosphere are too small to cause substantial global warming. This is misleading;…

Why “flash droughts” are on the rise

Rapid-onset drought conditions are increasingly occurring around the world due to climate change. The risks of these “flash droughts” are skyrocketing, fueled by carbon emissions, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment. These droughts…

Global Warming Fueled Both the Ongoing Floods and the Drought That Preceded Them in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna Region – Inside Climate News

Flooding rains that killed at least 15 people when they slammed into the fertile and industrious heartland of northeastern Italy in mid-May were at least partly fueled by global warming, and scientists say they fit the trend of intensifying extremes…

NOAA: How Greenhouse Gas Pollution Amplified Global Warming in 2022 – CleanTechnica

Greenhouse gas pollution from human activity trapped 49 percent more heat in the atmosphere during 2022 than those same gases did in 1990, according to an annual NOAA report. This graphic shows the increasing warming influence over time of CO2…


India’s hill states need sustainable cooling solutions to beat warming

If the electricity demand is not fulfilled via cleaner energy sources, this could lift the emission curve

A large number of Indian cities experienced scorching heat over the past week. As per Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), approximately 70 per cent of India experienced a maximum temperature between 40 and 46°C. According to an article published in Down To Earth on April 20, 2023, India has witnessed a 34 per cent rise in heat-related mortalities in 2013-2022 from the previous decade (2003-2012).

While such high temperatures are normal for some states, the Himalayan region saw the worst levels of mercury. The states in the region have witnessed moderate (0-4°C) to high (4-6°C) departures from the normal maximum temperatures in the past week.

For instance, Karsingsa, Itanagar, Anni, Passighat and Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh recorded a 3-5°C departure from the normal on May 23, 2024, according to IMD. At the same time, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya recorded a 1-4°C departure from the normal.

Also read: India should brace for dry and hot spring-summer, El Nino, say experts

The story does not end here; the IMD forecast on May 25 suggests that a 2-8°C departure will likely occur in Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and parts of Ladakh in the coming days. This has several issues for people living in the hills.

First, people living in the hills have not experienced such high temperatures, so their tolerance to heat is limited. They are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses than someone living in the plains. Their exposure to heat is also high as most of the population works outdoors. 

The preferable ambient temperature for humans ranges from 17-24°C, according to an analysis published in The Lancet Planetary Health. Prolonged exposure to temperatures beyond this can result in physiological stress, cardiovascular disease and other heat-related illnesses. 

Secondly, hill states have not required active cooling infrastructure like fans and air conditioners. Increasing temperatures are forcing a switch to active cooling that would create a surge in electricity consumption and dent in people’s pockets.

If the electricity demand is not fulfilled via cleaner energy sources, this could lift the emission curve of the region. This means a vicious cycle awaits the Himalayan region wherein a warming environment means more anthropogenic heat due to cooling and more emissions.   

Even India’s coastal belt was not spared by the rising mercury. On May 23 and 24, IMD recorded a 2-5°C departure from the normal across Medinipur in West Bengal and Puri in Odisha. Additionally, the entire west coast of India suffered from a 2-4°C departure from the normal on May 24.

The increase in temperature over the coasts is accompanied by high humidity, which increases the feel-like temperature. Such conditions create sultry weather, making it unsuitable for mental or physical work. This leads to a loss in productivity while inducing heat stress and thermal discomfort amongst the dwellers. 

Most Indian cities fall under the plains, and the prevailing high temperatures here are leading to increased intensity of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. On May 23, several cities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal witnessed maximum temperatures above 40°C, according to IMD.

Hisar, Bhiwani and Mungeshpur in Haryana; parts of Delhi such as New Delhi and Najafgarh; Rajnandgaon in Chattisgarh; Mahabaleswar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad in Maharashtra; Jamshedpur in Jharkhand; Baripada and Balasore in West Bengal; and a few other cities saw a 6-8°C departure from the normal temperatures. 

IMD declared heatwaves to severe heatwaves in Rajasthan’s Churu; Jhansi, Mathura-Vrindavan and Agra in Uttar Pradesh; Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh; and parts of Delhi (Pitampura, Narela and Pusa) on May 23. Further, cities are also experiencing high nighttime temperatures (approximately 5-6°C departure from normal minimum temperatures) due to UHI effect. This happens when the environment traps heat all day and releases it at night. 

Also read: Climate crisis in North East India: Why are rainfall patterns changing?

With such shifting temperature normals, cities need to both adapt and mitigate the impact of warming. This will require measures to cool down the environment. Increasing and improving green infrastructure is one such measure. It not only cools down the surroundings but also prevents flooding.

Green infrastructure includes green spaces and water bodies like parks, gardens, green belts, green roofs, ponds, lakes, etc. Green infrastructure restricts heat gain in urban areas via evapotranspiration and therefore plays a crucial role in regulating the micro-climate.

A 10 per cent increase in tree canopy cover can bring down afternoon temperatures by 1-1.5°C; active and passive water systems can lower the temperature by 3-8°C, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Further cooling materials for roofs and facades can reduce the indoor temperature by 2-5°C. Integrating such measures with master plans and building by-laws would bring a mandated implementation and enable cities to act for heat resilience and mitigation. 

Global projections of flash drought show increased risk in a warming climate – Communications Earth & Environment

Abstract Flash drought, characterized by unusually rapid drying, can have substantial impact on many socioeconomic sectors, particularly agriculture. However, potential changes to flash drought risk in a warming climate remain unknown. In this study, projected changes in flash drought frequency…


Drought to deluge: Heavy rain causes flash flooding across southern Spain

Rains still continue; this spring had been Spain’s driest on record through May 21

Murcia President Fernando Lopez Miras taking stock of the situation. Photo: @LopezMirasF / Twitter Murcia President Fernando Lopez Miras taking stock of the situation. Photo: @LopezMirasF / Twitter

Torrential rains have swept over the coastal southeast of Spain following a long drought. The much-needed rain came faster than the cities could handle, reported news agency Anadolu Agency.

Rivers broke their banks following rains that began May 22, 2023, while flash floods cut off roads, entered homes and seriously damaged crops, the report added. Education in Alicante and Murcia cities was disrupted as more than 40 municipalities cancelled classes.

The largest storm tank in the Region of Murcia is already operating at full capacity in Torre Pacheco. During the last hours, it has received 40,000 cubic metres of water, preventing it from entering the Mar Menor, tweeted the water and sanitation department for Murcia. Murcia President Fernando Lopez Miras took stock of the situation. 

Aielo de Malferit municipality in Valencia province broke its single-day rainfall record on May 24, 2023. The municipality recorded 117.6 litres while the rains continued in the region, claimed meteorological website Meteo Aielo

The heaviest rains in the morning of May 24 were concentrated between the Coast, the Canal de Navarrés and the Vall d’Albaida, tweeted Spanish meteorological association Avamet.

Spain is one of several countries this year that was facing extreme dry conditions and suddenly faced flash floods after torrential rain. 

Through March this year, Somalia was one of the countries in the Horn of Africa that entered the sixth consecutive wet season with no rain. However, around May 14, riverine floods in the country killed over 20 people.

Heavy rains also wreaked havoc in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Twenty-one rivers swelled over their banks following rains that began May 2, leading to deaths of at least 13 people and forcing the evacuation of thousands. 

In Spain, almost 400,000 inhabitants have been affected by the closures, which have also included municipal sports facilities, public parks and gardens, reported Spanish news website, The Local

Almeria saw its single rainiest day on record on May 22, according to Spain’s official meteorological agency, Aemet. Almeria usually sees just 12 litres of rain for all of May, but Monday alone, the airport station witnessed 56 litres.

Emergency services battled to drain heavily inundated streets in Cartagena city, reported news agency Reuters. Local television footage showed water almost completely covering parked cars and motorbikes. 

Through May 21, this spring had been Spain’s driest on record. April was also the driest and hottest since record-keeping began. Spain’s Environment Ministry said reservoir levels had even decreased nationally in the last week to 47.7 per cent of capacity — 21 percentage points below the 10-year average for this time of year.

Nationwide precipitation between October 2022 and May 21 of this year was 28 per cent lower than the average for the period, Reuters reported AEMET spokesperson. The rains could help mitigate the prolonged drought afflicting Spain. 

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