Red signals

Published: Thursday 31 October 1996

the unseasonal showers in the northern parts of the country in the recent months were initially passed off as 'unexpected' but now experts are reading more into it. Indian and foreign climate experts aver that the unusual showers before and after monsoon could be pointers of global climate change.

According to M Lal of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, these deviations could be natural variations of a cyclic nature but "the increase in frequency of these unexpected surprises hint at anthropogenic activities like deforestation, changes in land-use pattern and increasing emission of carbon dioxide and other gases which lead to global warming affecting the climate". This theory is corroborated by a recent report released by Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, which says that most scientists believe that human activity is shaping climate trends.

Though losses resulting from climate change in India have not been quantified, the damages cannot be shrugged off. There were floods in Rajasthan and other north-western regions this year while several places including Orissa were affected by drought.

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