Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Uttarakhand was just a starter; the main course is still not served.

Oceans cover 71% of our planet and these vast bodies of water influence every aspect of our life. Every day megatonnes of water evaporates from their surface and is added to the atmosphere. There was about 13 trillion tonnes of water in our atmosphere yesterday; this is six times more than the quantity of liquid in all the rivers of the world. The same 13 trillion tonnes of water exists today too and should be the case for tomorrow also. There is one little hitch though, the world is getting warmer each day. Do you remember the summer this year? Was it not hot and don't you feel the summers are getting hotter each year? New temperature records are broken each year in our cities. What happens when our climate gets hot is more water evaporates into the atmosphere from our oceans. So the 13 trillions tonnes of water I told you will increase. This vast amount of water vapour is carried by the wind and then condenses into droplets of water as rain, when the physical conditions of temperature and pressure and just right for it. So as our temperatures rise, more and more water is put in the atmosphere causing heavier rains, just like we witnessed at Uttarakhand.
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Dehradun, said that 340 mm fell in a single day at Dehradun, a record not seen for five decades. Of course, the construction on river banks and the unplanned building of dams only exasperated the problem.
(A staggering 680 dams are in various stages of planning, or construction in Uttarakhand alone!) Uttarakhand, will not be the only one, we will have at least one such deluge every monsoon, or may be more. The question is will your home be the next in line.
Every gram of greenhouse gas we let out into the atmosphere increases the temperature ever so little, but when all our activity adds up the change is enormous.
Just before I finish: The hot temperature evaporates more water from the oceans and also from our land, rivers and lakes. So as years roll on we will have less and less water available and famines and droughts will get more and more common. Welcome to the 21st Century.

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