Sunday, May 16, 2010


IISc scientists warn that temperature in Bangalore could soar to 40 degrees in the next 10 years

Scientists at the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) warn that the average temperature in Bangalore would increase by at least three degrees centigrade in the next ten years. The highest temperature recorded this May was 37 degrees centigrade; by 2020 the normal temperature in the city would be over 40 degrees!
IISc Prof J Srinivasan (he’s also chairman of Divecha Centre for Climate Change) attributed the phenomenon to rise in CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels across the city. “Excessive consumption of fossil fuels (like petrol and diesel) has resulted in CO2 emission of 390 ppm (parts per million) in the last two-three years; if the same consumption pattern continues, the CO2 emission will touch 600 ppm and that blocks radiation,” Srinivasan told Bangalore Mirror on the sidelines of a function organised by the IISc Alumni Association on Saturday.
The alarming trend will not just cause sweating and exhaustion, but also lead to flooding and epidemics. “In the coming years, many millions of people in Karnataka will be affected by hunger, malaria and flooding,” said Srinivasan. This will also change the gender-dynamics. “A study on these lines had been conducted in the United Kingdom where 40,000 people died due to temperature rise in a year. Of these, 80 per cent are women. This suggests that women are less tolerant to heat than men,” Srinivasan added.
There are other effects too. The heavy rainfall period (more than 10 cms per day) during monsoons has considerably increased in the last ten years whereas low rainfall during the retreating monsoon has gone down. This has affected rabi and kharif production. According to Prof Srinivasan, the afforestation programmes of the state government will hardly help.
Vegetation in and around Bangalore has already been reduced by 65 per cent and water bodies have shrunk by 35 per cent as the concrete jungle and more vehicles encroach on the city. Bangaloreans are already feeling the heat, literally. The city’s pleasant weather has become a distant memory and so have its various sobriquets, famously the one referring to its naturally air-conditioned status.
Interestingly, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has not measured CO2 levels so far as they were under the impression that this really didn’t matter. But recent studies have proved that CO2 is a major cause for rising temperatures.


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