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Climate nightmare: A hot Indian Ocean

Climate nightmare: A hot Indian Ocean

The emerging situation can be imagined by the description that the increase in heat content would be equal to the detonation of one Hiroshima atomic bomb every second for a decade.

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Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 20:26 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 20:26 IST
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There has been no dearth of warnings about global warming and its consequences, and each successive warning has pointed to increasingly dire situations for the world. Predictions have been made about different aspects of climate change and how they would affect different parts of the world which would together be more than the sum of the disastrous parts. A scientific prediction made about the Indian Ocean should especially unnerve us because we are on its shoreline. A study made by climate scientist Roxy Mathew Koll of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, has found that the Indian Ocean might experience surface warming of 1.4 degrees Celsius to 3 degrees Celsius in the coming decades, which will mean a state of permanent heat wave. Marine heat waves are expected to increase from 20 days per year at present to 220-250 days by the end of the century. 

The emerging situation can be imagined by the description that the increase in heat content would be equal to the detonation of one Hiroshima atomic bomb every second for a decade. The warming will not be limited to the surface of the ocean but will affect it to a depth of up to 2,000 metres. The rise in temperature will impact everything from the monsoon to ocean habitats to marine life and all that is linked to the ocean. Extreme weather events like cyclones and excessive rainfall will be the norm and the Arabian Sea, which is important for us, will be the worst hit. The sea level would rise and a good part of our coast could be washed away by the ocean. The study has given various other details and projected a situation that is much worse than imagined till now.  

What it shows is a climate dystopia but it is set to become real. Much of the life on earth depends on the health and wellbeing of the oceans. There are 40 countries on the shores of the Indian Ocean and they are home to a third of the world’s population. A hotter Indian Ocean will impact the economic and social life of all of them and of all the people in the world. Climate change is not a future threat. It is already happening and we are experiencing it. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are not what they were even a decade ago. That is the case with land, air and sea everywhere in the world. India, and the world, need to take urgent and drastic steps to reduce global warming as well as put in place measures to deal with it. They have been found wanting on both counts. 

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