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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Mercury levels on the rise in the State

M. Harish Govind

According to a detailed study conducted by meteorologists

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The mercury levels are rising in Kerala, slowly but surely. During the last 43 years, the mean maximum temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees celsius, the minimum by 0.2 degrees and the average by 0.5 degrees. This was revealed in a detailed study conducted by meteorologists on the basis of temperatures recorded from 1961 to 2003. The study was taken up in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, set up under the auspices of the UN.

According to its 2001 report, the global surface temperatures had increased by about 0.6 degrees celsius during the last 50 years. "Our studies have confirmed the rising trend in temperatures in Kerala, with minor variations" the Met Centre Director, M.D. Ramachandran, told The Hindu . Global warming is the result of the rising atmospheric content of carbon dioxide mainly owing to the burning of hydrocarbons or fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. The destruction of forests and their degradation too have contributed to the rise in carbon dioxide levels. Mr. Ramachandran said the study had revealed that while globally, 1998 was the hottest year of the century, 1987 was the hottest year for Kerala owing to local phenomena. March is the hottest month in Kerala, with a mean maximum temperature of 33 degrees celsius. The highest temperature ever recorded in an individual station is 41 degrees— at Palakkad on April 26, 1950. This was about eight degrees higher that the normal for the warmest month. The lowest temperature recorded was 12.9 degrees— at Punalur on January 8, 1968.

According to the State of Environment (SoE) Report, 2005, for Kerala, released by the State Council for Science, Technology & Environment (STEC) recently, the burning of petroleum products and firewood together contributes a whopping 93 per cent of greenhouse gas emission over Kerala.

So what does global warming imply for Kerala? One possibility is that cyclonic activity and storm surges will increase in the oceanic basins in the neighbourhood, namely the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. A gradual rise in the sea level owing to melting of the polar ice cap and changes in salinity levels are likely to impact Kerala ecologically and socio-economically, it is pointed out.

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