Published: 19th October 2021
What's causing the heavy rains that's claiming lives in Kerala, Uttarakhand? Climate experts may have the answer
V Vinoj, Assistant Professor at IIT Bhubaneswar, suggests the need for a warning system. He added that the country needs to be climate-smart
Images of destruction and loss of lives caused by heavy rains in Kerala and Uttarakhand have shocked the country, but what could be the possible reason for such incessant rains? Experts say that a confluence of cyclonic storms forming in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea is amongst the major reasons behind such catastrophic rainfall.
"The latest rains in Kerala are a result of a normal climatic event called retreating monsoon that happens every year. However, the intensity of rains there and in Uttarakhand is alarming and must draw our attention to the severity of climate emergencies," said Kamal Narayan Omer, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council, which is a Delhi-based think tank. He added, "It is time India takes solid steps to help meet the climate targets considering events of the past few years. This trend seems to be getting worse."
Ishteyaque Ahmed, Senior Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace India, pitched in, "Rising oceanic temperatures can strengthen otherwise weak cyclones and make them deadlier than expected. India is facing this crisis from three sides. In the last few days, cyclonic storms are continuously forming in the Bay of Bengal as well as in the Arabian Sea."
"The confluence of such eastern and western storms is among the biggest causes of such disastrous rains in different parts of the country. These untimely erratic rains, responsible for big human and environmental losses, can derail the food and nutritional security initiatives of the country, which is already at the brink of a major food and nutrition crisis," he added. He also said that more such extreme weather events can occur in the future.
A professor from IIT Bhubaneswar even went on to suggest the need for a warning system. V Vinoj, Assistant Professor at IIT BHU, said that states and the country as a whole need to be climate smart. "It is now well-known that anthropogenic climate change will lead to extreme weather patterns. A specific warming system taking into consideration the local vulnerabilities will go a long way in saving lives."
Incessant rains have claimed at least 28 lives in Uttarakhand in the last two days, razing houses to the ground and leaving many trapped in the debris. As of October 18, the death toll due to havoc caused by rains in Kerala rose to 27.
A red alert has been issued for 11 dams across Kerala as water levels have breached the danger mark in several areas. Heavy rains are expected, once again, in the state between October 20 and 24.