Report published by NASA and NOAA, show 16 out of 17 warmest years on record since 2001, considering the fact that maximum heating occurred in past 35 years.
According to a report published by NASA, 2016 saw earth temperatures clocking another record-breaking high, for the third time in a row. In two independent analyses carried out by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was observed that ‘globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 0.99o C (1.78oF) warmer than the mid-20th century mean.’ The year of ‘17 comes as a plausible concern, as 2016 became the third year in a row to break record high global temperatures.
The pattern of rise began in 2014 when the earth’s average surface temperature was found to have increased by 0.74oC (1.34oF) from the normal average temperature [the mean temperature between 1951-1980, is used as the base period by NASA for all global analysis], making it then the warmest year. The following year in 2015, Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) of NASA produced a detailed analysis proving that the globally averaged temperature had increased by 0.87oC (1.57oF), breaking the previous year’s record by a mile.
Now, with 2016 reaching 0.99oC above the set normal and being crowned as the ‘hottest year on record’, yet again, how critically important do you think is it to prioritise global warming and work towards a cooler planet?
Increasing temperatures are known to have millions of direct/indirect effects on earth but the major one is excessive heating of land and water. The direct heating of the land, oceans and other water bodies leads to creation of a strong high-pressure system over an area. This system pushes the air downward, preventing the hot air to escape. With no place for the warm air to leave and perpetual rise in daily temperature, the air keeps getting hotter. This contraption of trapped air acts like an oven and is known as heatwave, which lasts for more than a day or two.
Heatwave leads to drying of prevalent winds thus reducing precipitation, triggering lack of food and water resources, droughts, high and fluctuating local temperatures,etc. In 2014, in an annual report published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), ‘out of 20,201 accidental deaths due to causes attributable to forces of nature… 6.2% deaths [were] due to ‘Heat/Sun Stroke’ and 4.5% deaths due to ‘Exposure to Cold’.’ In 2015, the same report came back with decrease in the number of accidental deaths but showed an unprecedented increase in deaths due to heat and exposure to cold. The deaths caused by ‘Heat/Sun Stroke’ were found to be 18.2%, while those caused by ‘Exposure to Cold’ were found to be 10.9%’ of the total, i.e. 10,510.
The increase in earth temperature and the periods of heatwave over two years, correlates to the increase in the number of deaths over the same time. Having said that, it becomes of paramount importance to consider global warming as one of the reasons for increase in ‘natural’ deaths in India, for the timely abatement of the issue. “2016 is remarkably the third record year in a row in this series,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “We don’t expect record years every year, but the ongoing long-term warming trend is clear.”
The data provided by NASA and NOAA, point at the increasing trends of deaths due to natural causes in India, clearly hinting at how much [literally, in terms of numbers] our nation is bearing the brunt of a global environmental crisis. The happenings of the world propagated to us by media and termed as ‘natural disasters’ are a reminder of a bigger problem that involves the entire humankind, and is sadly triggered by the creeds of the very same species – Homo sapiens.
The increase of 0.99oC in global temperatures is no ‘hoax’. Every year coming forward as the warmest one ever, is no story told to scare children into recycling plastic and switching off lights. The present situation is a red flag that requires our immediate attention and concern, lest soon we’d find ourselves crowning 2017 as the ‘Hottest Year Ever on Record…’[The facts and quotes have been sourced from news updates by Earth Observatory and Press Release by NASA ]
Photo by Dr. Anish Andheria