Weather god goes for variety this winter

KOLKATA, 11 JAN: Wonder why winter this year bore flavours of summer and monsoon, both? Blame it on climate change.
This month alone saw the warmest January day for the past 20 years with a minimum temperature of 17.5 degrees Celsius (five degrees above normal) on 2 January and wettest January day on the ninth. They marked a continuation to the record-setting fluctuations this winter as 22 December was the second coldest day in the past 20 years, with the temperature dipping to 10.8 degrees Celsius.
In the wake of the erratic weather patterns, Climate scientists feel that the climatic trend is consistent with the predictions of the Intergovernmental panel for climate change (IPCC).
The IPCC report predicted more rains and missing chill during winters. Not only this, the intensity and frequency of extreme events, such as storm surges and cyclonic circulation, will be on the rise.
“The current season has been particularly erratic. Though it is difficult to establish whether this was due to climate change as there has not been any research yet on the phenomena, we cannot deny the fact that such vagaries were predicted by the IPCC report,” said Ms Jayashree Roy, a climate expert with the Jadavpur University.
The weather officials have, however, said that the winter chill is likely to be back in the city in the next 24 hours.
Two cyclonic circulations ~ one over Jharkhand and the other over Bangladesh, adjoining Gangetic West Bengal ~ currently posed an impediment to the northerly wind. However, these obstructions have now started to clear. So from Wednesday night the temperature is likely to dip. The weekend may experience the normal temperature of the season.
According to an official: “Rain is normal during winter as an effect of western disturbance. But this time, it is continuing more than what it is supposed to. Even though the temperature has dipped, the nip in the air was still missing.”
Meanwhile, the meteorological office has issued warning of a cold wave sweeping north Bengal during the next 48 hours. Mr Subir Sarkar, director, North Bengal University Weather Service Station, said there would be a sudden dip in mercury in the region during the next two days. “Temperature in the region is already below normal. Night temperature will remain appreciably below normal in most parts of the region during the next two days,” he said.
Mr Sarkar also informed that the hills of Darjeeling and Sikkim were most likely to experience snowfall during the next 24 hours.
“There is a high possibility of snow at some places in the higher altitude of Sikkim and Darjeeling tomorrow,” the senior meteorological expert said. An alert of moderate fog reducing surface visibility to less than 500 metres in a few pockets over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Bihar during next 24 hours has been forecast.


KOLKATA, 16 JAN: Weather officials are not equipped to say whether a climatic change has been triggered due to global warming and asking them about the issue is more like asking a nursing professional to conduct a surgery, said chairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and renowned environment expert Mr RK Pachauri today.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the programme organised by Credai Bengal and the energy and resource institute (Teri) to introduce Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (Griha), the green rating system for buildings, in West Bengal at the Bengal Club.
Though general awareness had increased about climate change, there is seldom any awareness or training programme for the officials working in the meteorological offices. “Like Mark Twain had said everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it, the country should wake up to formulate action to combat climate change,” he said.
He added that though the winter in the eastern part of the country has been very erratic this year, but whether it was due to climate change can only be ascertained by studying the trends for a number of years. Anomaly in weather cannot be predicted or attributed to climate change based on only one month, he said.
About green rating systems in India, Mr Pachauri, also the director general of Teri, said: “There is a realty boom in the country that is only going to accelerate. Thus, there is a need for energy-efficient buildings. Ratings based on scientific principles and architectural techniques to stand the test of time are essential.”
Griha, developed by Teri and Union ministry of new and renewable energy, attempts to minimise a building’s resource consumption, waste generation, and overall ecological impact to within certain nationally acceptable limits or benchmarks.
It assesses a building based on 34 criteria and award points are on the scale of 100. In order to qualify for Griha certification, a project must achieve at least 50 points.

Soma Basu


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