Expert Says It Is High Time For Kerala To Give Top Priority To Environmental Impact Assessments When Undertaking Development Projects

Last week’s unusual downpour left a trail of death and destruction in Kerala amid a shift in rain patterns in the state over the past five years. From the Flood of the Century in 2018 to the flash floods this month, the change is evident. Experts say the temperature over the Arabian Sea has risen by 1.2-1.4 ° C over the past two decades, increasing the frequency of cyclonic events along the west coast. Usually, the temperature in the Arabian Sea is 1.5 degrees cooler than in the Bay of Bengal and this is one of the reasons for the decrease in cyclonic circulations and low pressure in the Arabian Sea. But lately the situation is changing. Experts say the warming is not limited to the upper layers of the sea.

“… over 90% of the heat on earth is absorbed by the oceans. Usually the temperatures in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal are above 28 degrees C, and in the Arabian Sea it is between 26 and 28 degrees. But the Arabian Sea is heating up quickly. It’s pretty visible over the past decade, ”said Roxy Mathew, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.

He said a big change in the pattern of the rains was quite noticeable and added that Kerala should have been very careful in land use as the state is blessed with many hills and rivers and has a sloping geographic landscape. .

The frequency of cyclonic circulation over the Arabian Sea has also increased dramatically. There was a 52% increase in cyclonic movements over the Arabian Sea between 2001 and 2019 and an 8% increase over the same period in the Bay of Bengal. Statistics from the Indian Meteorological Department show that nine major cyclones or depressions formed in 2020, including four in the Arabian Sea.

Also watch: Couple floats to wedding venue in kitchen vessel in Kerala in the rain

Experts say one of the reasons for the high temperature is a chemical reaction in the sea induced by pollution. According to a study by the Central Marine Fisheries Institute of India in 2018, major oceans will contain more plastic than fish. By 2050, more than 850 metric tonnes of plastics will end up in the sea, while fish will represent 821 metric tonnes. Another study by the Alfred Wegener Institute indicates that the seas near Mumbai, Kerala and the Andaman Nicobar Islands are among the most polluted in the world.

“It’s sad in Kerala, talks don’t start until after a tragedy and everyone quickly forgets about it. It is high time for the State to give top priority to environmental impact studies when initiating development projects. Cloud bursts, flash floods and landslides are here to stay. The state will have to pay a heavy price if it goes ahead ignoring the signals of climate change, ”said MG Manoj of the Advanced Center for Atmospheric Radar Research at Cochin University of Science and Technology.

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