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India,turning on the heat

Nostalgic about good ol’ times when the climes were cooler,the variations more moderate and the temperatures less searing? Now that nostalgia comes with statistical backing.

Nostalgic about good ol’ times when the climes were cooler,the variations more moderate and the temperatures less searing? Now that nostalgia comes with statistical backing.

A research by scientists of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has shown that between 1971 and 2007,the all-India mean annual temperature has increased by 0.20 degree Celsius per decade. Though it is less than the global temperature rise (between 1901 and 2007,global temperature rose at a rate of 0.82 degree Celsius a year compared to 0.5 degree Celsius a year in India),it is certainly a cause of worry,say scientists at IITM.

The study,done by senior IITM scientist Dr Dilip Kothawale,also says that the rate of increase in temperature was highest in the last decade (1998-2007). The study was done on the basis of data available with 121 stations of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). It also observed that the all India mean annual temperature had increased by 0.03 degree Celsius per decade between 1901 and 2007. “The increase in heat can be attributed to urbanisation and emission of greenhouse gases,” says Kothawale.

If the temperature rise in India is less than the global average,we have the monsoons to thank for that,says Kothawale. “The lower rate of rise in temperature in India can be attributed to the pre-monsoon (March to May) and monsoon period (June to September),” he says.

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What is alarming,he says,is the higher rate of increase in temperature in India in October and November,which are generally considered the winter months. “In October and November,while the global trend shows an increase of 0.76 degree Celsius in the last 100 years,in India,the rise is 0.82 degree Celsius for the same period,” says Kothawale.

“There is evidence to show that the last 12 years were the warmest years. However,at this moment,we cannot attribute definite reasons for it but can only talk about the probable factors. Because if we go back in the Ice Age when there were no greenhouse gases,the earth still continued to get heated,” says A.K. Shrivastav,director of National Climate Centre.

A recent IMD study that compared the number,duration and spread of heat waves from 1971 to 2000,recorded in 35 sub-divisions across the country,says that on an average,almost 23 sub-divisions were hit by heat waves between 1991 and 2000. Notably,the decade 1991-2000 has been the warmest in the last 140 years. The heat is really on.

First published on: 28-06-2009 at 04:54:01 am
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