Cyclone Amphan and now Nisarga. What is it that is making India vulnerable to such calamities?
The only answer that researchers have to this phenomena is: Unplanned urban development and destruction of mangrove forests. They contributed to climate change, making cyclones more intense and frequent.
Indian Ocean is warming rapidly, so severe cyclones are projected to increase in number on both the east and west coast of India, say climate scientists. Climate change is increasing the damage that cyclones like Nisarga and Amphan cause in several ways. Some of these are, increasing sea surface temperatures that can make cyclones more powerful, increasing the rainfall intensity during the storm and rising sea levels, which increases the distance inland that storm surges reach, reported IANS.
“In the case of both the recent cyclones, Amphan and now Nisarga, the anomalously warm ocean temperatures are proving to give them a major boost. While temperatures in the Bay of Bengal were between 30-33 degrees Celsius prior to Amphan, surface temperatures over the Arabian Sea recorded 30-32 degrees prior to the depression which is now evolving as Cyclone Nisarga. Such high temperatures aid rapid intensification of these cyclonic systems, which many weather models fail to capture,” Scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and lead author of the IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere, Roxy Mathew Koll was quoted as saying to IANS.
Quoting UN body IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, research director and adjunct associate professor with the Bharti Institute of Public Policy of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, Anjal Prakash said these cyclones are due to ocean heat waves and warming up of oceans.
“The recent IPCC special report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a changing climate made very important revelations about the changing characteristics of the sea. The impact of the warming of the ocean means that there would be an increase in the incidences of tropical cyclone winds and rainfall, and increases in extreme waves, combined with relative sea level rise, exacerbate extreme sea level events and coastal hazards,” Prakash told IANS.
“One of the most affected cities is Mumbai. It has also witnessed unprecedented growth in the last few decades, with rapids construction on its mangrove forests. The density of the trees create a sort of buffer zone against floods and storm surges,” he added further.