Earth SOS: Five Recent Climatic Events That Demand Immediate Redressal

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The rapid change in climatic conditions is one of the major challenges that the world is facing in recent times. In a press release on Wednesday, the United Nations announced that the number of natural disasters has increased five-fold over a 50-year period due to climate change and the rise of extreme weather.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change, published in August, has been referred to as “code red for humanity” by UN chief António Guterres. The IPCC has issued one of its strongest warnings yet on impending catastrophe caused by increased human activity.

This year, the world has seen a series of devastating climatic disasters in various parts of the world such as hurricane Ida, deadly heatwaves in Canada and the US, landslides in Himachal Pradesh, and flooding in Japan. These reports highlighting the global environmental change concerns reaffirm that the world can no longer afford to ignore the real developmental challenge that climate change poses. Here are five recent climatic events that beg for immediate action:

Hurricane Ida: The remnants of Hurricane Ida,  triggered flash floods in New York and New Jersey in the first week of September and killed over 40 people in the region.

The extreme weather generated by climate change wreaked havoc and broke rainfall records in the Northeast parts of the US.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a media statement said, “This is the biggest wake-up call we could possibly get.”

New York flooding (Picture Credit-@Khendo_FM/Twitter)

The flash floods triggered by the hurricane left people stranded in their cars, closed subways, and destroyed homes.

Rain at Greenland summit: For the first time since record-keeping began in 1950, in mid-August this year, the summit of Greenland received rain and not snow after temperatures at the spot went above freezing for the third time in less than ten years.

The event has caused an alarm as experts are pointing to it as evidence that Greenland is warming up rapidly. According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, this was the heaviest rainfall that the ice sheet received on record, with a rate of ice melting that was seven times more than the daily average that is observed at this time of the year.

Greenland is the world’s largest island located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and has three-quarters of its surface covered with a permanent ice sheet, which is increasingly coming under threat because of climate change.

US-Canada heatwaves: A blistering heatwave hit Canada and parts of the US in the first week of July, sending temperatures to dangerous highs of nearly 50C (122F). Hundreds of people died.

The summer of 2021 has been marked by record-setting heat all across the U.S. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June was the hottest month on record in the continental U.S., and July was the hottest month on Earth since record-keeping began 141 years ago. They called their finding an “unenviable distinction” and part of a worsening trend related to climate change.

Japan mudslides: More than a million people were urged to seek shelter when torrential rains triggered floods and landslides in western Japan in mid-August this year.


Japan Mudlises (Picture courtesy- @DigitalBaseZone/Twitter)

Scientists say climate change has intensified heavy rains in Japan and elsewhere because a warmer atmosphere holds more water. Increasing rainfall events due to climate change also raise the risk of devastating mudslides.

Flash floods and landslides in Himachal Pradesh: This monsoon, at least 246 people have already lost their lives to a series of natural disasters such as landslides, cloudbursts, and flash floods in a state which is well-known for its natural beauty, the snow-capped Himalayas, and exquisite landscapes, Himachal Pradesh in India.


Landslide at Jeori, in Shimla (Picture Courtest-ANI)

Experts have suggested that climate change and anthropogenic activities are responsible for such massive destruction in Himachal Pradesh.

The Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Plan (HPSDMP) on climate change has identified that the average mean surface temperature of the state has risen by about 1.6 degrees Celsius in the last century.

HPSDMP has stated that patterns of temperature and rainfall are changing in the state and these have increased the frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events, such as riverine and flash floods, drought, avalanche, cloud bursts, landslides, and forest fires.

These events make it very clear that the greatest crisis humanity faces are climate change. Ironically, humans are the leading reason for the degradation of the environment and they can be the best solutions too.

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