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Longer, stronger heat predicted for India
With a large proportion of people without sufficient access to water, electricity and primary healthcare facilities, India could be very vulnerable to heat waves, the study noted
With more than 2,300 dead in extremely hot weather across India, a recent Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) study predicts more intense and longer heat waves, more often and earlier in the year in future.
In a changing climate, newer areas, including large swathes of southern India and both coasts - hitherto unaffected - will be severely hit, resulting in more heat stress and deaths, said the study, published in the journal Regional Environmental Change.
“From climate model projections, we have pointed out that there is a possibility of high occurrences of heat waves in South India in future,” Subimal Ghosh, associate professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-B, and one of the paper’s authors, told IndiaSpend.
Heat waves in a warming world
Such a forecast is in line with global and Indian studies.
Other recent assessments have predicted that intense heat waves will grow with rising global temperatures, up by 0.9 degrees Celsius since the start of the 20th century.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) records that from 1906 to 2005, the mean annual global surface-air temperature increased by about 0.74 degrees (land-surface air temperature increases more than sea-surface temperature). As a result, there will be significant changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including heat waves, as IPCC’s 2014 report warns.
“It is difficult to directly link this present single-year high heat-wave occurrence to climate change,” said Ghosh. “However, there is a good possibility that such heat waves may indicate the adverse impacts of global warming.”
A rise in the frequency and intensity of heat waves would increase the risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and even deaths from hot weather, the IIT-B team predicted, echoing concerns raised by IPCC scientists.
With a large proportion of people without sufficient access to water, electricity and primary healthcare facilities, India could be very vulnerable to heat waves, the study noted.
“Heat waves are an important class of climate hazard that may have serious consequences on health and ecosystem, keeping existing vulnerabilities of population in mind,” says Kamal Kumar Murari, the lead author of the study and an IIT-B doctoral candidate. “Our findings highlight the need to better understand the direct temperature-related consequences in order to develop better adaptation strategies.”
Multiple data sources, one result: Heat’s coming
The IIT-B study is important because it is particularly exhaustive.
Murari and his colleagues used daily temperature data over 40 years (1969-2009) from 395 weather stations across India. They also used climate-change simulations of seven EarthSystem Models (ESM), which combine the interactions of atmosphere, ocean, land, ice, and biosphere under a wide variety of conditions. In addition, they used US National Center for Atmospheric Research data on daily relative humidity and data on heat-stress analysis.
Based on these datasets, the IIT-B team estimated the potential impact of future heat waves on mortality using historical data from India’s ministry of home affairs.
The team projected intensity, duration and frequency of severe heat waves for low, middle and high range rates of climate change as shown in long-term projections called representative concentration pathways (RCPs) - four greenhouse gas concentration trajectories that climate modellers use to describe possible climate futures. Each pathway notes how much the planet has heated up and the concentration of greenhouse gases doing the heating.
The IIT-B team took RCP26, a projection consistent with the goal to hold global warming to 2 degrees, showing a peak and a decline in warming; RCP45, considered the most probable case; and RCP85, possibly the worst-case scenario.
Future hot zones: South India and both coasts
Under the most probable-case and the worst-case scenarios, 2070 onward, there could be an increase in intensity, duration and frequency of severe heat waves.
In particular, a large part of southern India, east and west coasts, which have been unaffected by heat waves, are projected to be severely affected after 2070.
Severe heat waves are expected to appear early in future years, starting in early April, under the worst-case scenario. A sizeable part of India is also projected to be exposed to extreme heat-stress conditions, intensification of heat wave and heat-stress leading to increased mortality.
Heat-stress is a condition in which the body cannot cool off to maintain a healthy temperature - resulting in rashes, cramps, dizziness or fainting, exhaustion, heat stroke, and a worsening of existing medical conditions.
Other studies, similar conclusion
The IIT-B study follows other studies that have also shown an increasing trend in heat waves.
Dr. D.S. Pai, who heads the Long Range Forecasting division at the National Climate Centre, Pune, and his colleagues at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), have shown a noticeable increase in the heat wave and severe heat-wave days over the country during 2001-2010 - the warmest decade recorded - compared to the previous four decades.
The IMD team used heat-wave information from 103 stations on the Indian mainland during the hot-weather season of March to July over the past 50 years (1961-2010). They examined various statistical aspects of heat waves and severe heat waves, such as long-term climatology, decadal variation, and long-term trends.
Pai and colleagues also found heat waves linked with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), denoting fluctuating ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, known for its global impact. The study indicates the complexity of future weather predictions.
They found that heat waves of eight or more days peak a year after the El Nino (warm) phase of this cycle and are at a minimum a year after the La Nina (cool) phase.
The IMD team found other factors linked to heat-wave dynamics, including the annual path of the sun; moisture distribution across India and how it is influenced by seas on its either side and the arrival of the monsoon.
The arrival of the monsoon over north India marks the end of the hot weather season. In 1998 and 2002 when the monsoon was delayed, long heat-wave conditions prevailed here.
As the geographic spread of heat waves and trends change, weather scientists stress the need for better forecasts and more rigorous research.
“The present assessment could be a good starting point for considering heat waves as a disaster, even though they do not yet appears in the priorities of disaster-management plans of the Government of India,” said Murari.



Ralph Rau

2 years ago

Our Dharma tells us that we will be reborn on this very planet.

Even if other nations and cultures have no respect for Dharti Ma surely we Indians must respect our Sanskriti.

Respect for nature,forest and rivers must remain supreme. Is the Hindutva Sanskriti government listening ?

Nature will survive without man but other way around is not a possibility.


2 years ago

Who cares? No hope for India at least till next General elections. Present Government is hell bent on the their 'OWN Development Agenda" disregarding
the Greenery, Fertile land , Open Coastal areas. Ecology and Environment is the lowest item on its agenda. Day by day even the forest land and open space for conservation of water is depleting due to onslaught of industries and infra development at the cost environment degradation.

Amit Anam

2 years ago

Worst thing is that we are not allowed to put tinted glass or dark sticker on our vehicle window glass to prevent heat, police mama takes bribe of 500 and above if any vehicle caught with tinted glasses on windows, but the worst thing is that every MLA and MP has tinted glass window on their vehicle, i would like Suchita mam to raise this issue.


Pravesh Pandya

In Reply to Amit Anam 2 years ago

Please consider filing an RTI with your state police asking for all the vehicles having tinted windows. Also ask for registered numbers for official police vehicles. Many a times polices vehicles themselves sport tinted glasses and fancy numbers.

Europe’s Revolving-Door Prisons Compound Growing Terror Threat
Sentences are short compared to the U.S.; two Charlie Hebdo attackers and another suspected plotter, now in Yemen, cycled through French jails.
This story was co-published with The Daily Beast.
In the summer of 2011, three French ex-convicts met in Yemen to talk about unleashing death and terror on the streets of Paris.
The trio was part of a crew of jihadis who radicalized together in the Buttes-Chaumont neighborhood of Paris a decade earlier. All three had been convicted of serious crimes. But they were at large thanks to a problem that gets scant attention in France and elsewhere in Europe: lenient sentencing policies for people convicted of terrorism and other violent crimes. 
Peter Cherif, the son of Afro-Caribbean and Tunisian immigrants, was the dominant figure at the meeting. In 2004, U.S. troops had captured him while he was fighting for al-Qaida in Iraq. After his return to France, he served just 18 months in jail before he won release pending trial.
By the time the court imposed a five-year sentence on Cherif, he had fled to Yemen to join the al-Qaida offshoot there. U.S. courts have sent terrorists found guilty of comparable offenses to maximum-security prisons for decades or life.
Intelligence officials say Cherif was visited in Yemen by Salim Benghalem, who was radicalized in prison by another Buttes-Chaumont jihadi who fought in Iraq. Convicted for a murder, Benghalem had served about six years before he was back on the street.
Cherif’s other visitor had done a mere 20 months behind bars for his role in sending young Parisian suicide bombers to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. His name: Cherif Kouachi.
In Yemen, the three discussed attacks on U.S. targets in France and on a satirical magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, investigators say. Peter Cherif helped provide Kouachi with cash and a few days of al-Qaida training, according to French and U.S. intelligence officials. 
Four years later, Kouachi hit the big time. He massacred journalists at Charlie Hebdo magazine in January, dying along with his brother Said after a rampage across Paris that killed 17 people and caused international outcry. 
Although the Kouachi brothers got most of the public attention, others in their crew have attained frontline roles in terrorist groups. Their story underscores a worrisome reality at a time of unprecedented radicalization among youth in Europe. European law enforcement is good at catching terrorists, but not so good at keeping them locked up. The problem is evident in France and Belgium, two nations that have seen the largest number of extremists travel to Syria to fight. 
“Penal policies have not adapted to the reality of the terrorist threat,” said Louis Caprioli, a former counterterror chief of France’s domestic spy agency now with a private security consulting group. 
“Terrorists are treated like common criminals when it comes to sentencing, even if they are repeat offenders,” he said. “We have to take these guys off the streets. The philosophy has been to rescue the individual rather than to protect the society.”
Tilt Toward Rehabilitation
If prison terms were tougher, the January attacks in Paris might never have happened. Consider the trajectory of Amedy Coulibaly, a 32-year-old Frenchman who killed hostages at a Jewish grocery in coordination with the Charlie Hebdo massacre. 
Coulibaly’s criminal career began at age 18. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years for armed robberies and drug dealing. While in jail, he met Cherif Kouachi and other terrorists and adopted their extremist views. Soon after their release, French police arrested Coulibaly and Kouachi for plotting to storm a prison and free a convicted terrorist bomb maker. 
Charges were dropped against Kouachi. Coulibaly was convicted of illegal arms possession in the jailbreak plot, but sentenced to only five years even though he was a repeat offender linked to known terrorists. By May 2014 he was out again. Eight months later, he was dead – along with four victims at the Jewish grocery and a policewoman he gunned down earlier.
French prosecutors have strong tools for putting terror suspects in preventive detention and convicting them at trial. But when it comes to punishment, judicial authorities have less power than their U.S. counterparts, who win long sentences for crimes such as “material support” of terrorism.
In France, the main weapon in the judicial arsenal is the crime of terrorist conspiracy, which generally brings a maximum of 10 years. Thanks to probation and good behavior policies, people convicted of conspiracy often serve about half their terms, experts say. 
“It’s a real problem,” said Mohamed Douhane, a French police commandant and secretary general of the Synergie Officiers police union. “We police officers don’t understand the weak sentences and the fact that convicts don’t serve their entire sentences.”
After the Paris attacks, public scrutiny focused on intelligence breakdowns that had caused police to curtail their monitoring of the Kouachis and Coulibaly. In May, the French parliament approved legislation giving authorities vast new surveillance powers — and raising concerns about civil liberties. Authorities have also sped up a project to segregate convicted terrorists in prison to prevent radicalization of common criminals.
There has been little movement, however, toward beefed-up punishment. Although special investigative magistrates prosecute terrorism cases, courts continue to handle trials, sentencing and their aftermath much like other cases.
Courtesy: ProPublica


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