KOCHI: It is only the beginning of March, but mercury level is already soaring past the 35-degree Celsius threshold, leaving people reeling under intense heat. The maximum temperature had recorded a departure of 2.8 degree Celsius in Thiruvananthapuram, while Punalur (Kollam district), Palakkad, Alappuzha and Kozhikode reported an increase of more than 1 degree Celsius from normal on Friday. Weather watchers say summer usually peaks by the first week of April, but the rising temperature and decrease in humidity are worrying.
“The situation is precarious and we need to develop a long-term water management system,” earth scientist Subhash Chandra Bose told Express.“There was a 73 per cent drop in rainfall in the post-flood period from August 22 to September 26, 2018, which was not compensated during the North-East Monsoon.
Summer showers used to contribute 10 per cent of the annual rainfall, but it wasn’t received during January and February. Surface water evaporation used to control mercury level during these two months, but the loss of top soil this time due to flood led to depletion of surface water causing a decrease in humidity. It contributed to the rise in temperature,” he said.
‘Terraced buildings, loss of green cover reasons for climatic change’
ENVIRONMENT activists believe the loss of green cover and terraced house-building spree have led to a change in Kerala’s climatic cycle. “The share of summer rains has been decreasing for the past one decade. We receive 70 per cent of the annual rain during the South-West Monsoon. The recent phenomenon is heavy rainfall during the South-West Monsoon and scarce showers during summer.
The cement surfaces are releasing more heat and we’re experiencing extreme climatic conditions. The winter was extremely cold this year and now the summer is scorching. These’re worrying trends,” said green activist M N Jayachandran. Though deficiency in summer rainfall is not alarming, the rising temperature is a cause for concern, according to National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS) scientist K K Ramachandran.
“This year we’ve experienced extreme conditions, which signal a change in climate pattern. As humidity has dropped, the temperature felt by people working under the sun will be more severe. There’re apprehensions the South-West Monsoon will be deficient this time. We’re more concerned about that,” said Ramachandran.
Govt issues changed timings for workers
T’Puram: The state government has issued changed timings for labourers working in open places during daytime in view of the increasing mercury level. As per that, the day shift will be from 7 am to 7 am, with the break being from 12 pm to 3 pm. The Labour Department has been asked to ensure the new directive is adhered to by employers, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post.