Of late, there has been an increase in extreme weather events across India. Incidents of cloudburst and heavy rains, causing damage to life and property have been reported almost routinely. Unpleasant incidents induced by rain across India also claimed many lives. Nine tourists died and three others were injured in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district on Sunday last when boulders fell on their vehicle during multiple landslides.
Prior to it, many people died in a series of house collapses and other intense rain triggered incidents in Mumbai. Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have seen loss of many lives in flash floods and cloudbursts. This is apart from deaths due to lightning etc recently.
These weather events carry not only the indelible sign of a surging climate crisis but are also a compelling reminder that the country is under-equipped to tackle many of its effects, such as urban flooding and flash floods.
If 10 centimetres of rainfall is received at a station in one hour, the rain event is termed as cloudburst. This sudden discharge of a large amount of water not only leads to human casualties but also loss of property.
In such an example, at least seven persons died in a remote village of Kishtwar. There were cloudbursts reported at two places in Kargil. Besides, cloudburst took place in higher reaches close to Shri Amarnathji shrine. Besides, 14 people were also killed while four persons were injured in flash floods triggered by cloudburst in Himachal Pradesh.
Although it is difficult to forecast cloudbursts, technology can be a great help to predict them in advance. For example, doppler radars can be very helpful in predicting them. Nowcasts can be given three hours prior to the event, experts point out.
Studies show atmospheric moisture levels have increased recently, contributing to short, intense spells of rain. The relations between warming, rainfall and temperature is complex and variables such as aerosol emissions, particulate matter pollution, agriculture and forestry patterns must be accounted for. However, the broader picture is that extreme events such as cloudbursts and heat waves are likely to amplify, making the role of accurate forecasts that are able to warn of such events beforehand even more significant
The climate crisis leads to large-scale human tragedies and destruction of property and as such it is important to have early warning and better weather forecast systems. There is also a need to draw up a sustainable plan to address the climate crisis.