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‘Spate of hurricanes reminder of urgent action on climate change’

Finding : Scientists say there are links between climate change and extreme weather- UN chief - this year’s Atlantic hurricane season “will be the new normal of a warming world.”

The new normal :

  • Hurricane Irma in Barbuda - Category 5 storm for 3 days - the longest on satellite record”, and its winds - 300 kmph for 37 hour - the longest on record at that intensity.”

  • Hurricanes Harvey and Irma - first time two Category 4 storms and land fall

  • Hurricane Maria - Category 5 storm in Dominica and devastating Puerto Rico.

Indications for extreme weather changes:

  • A warmer climate -turbocharges the intensity of hurricanes.

  • The melting of glaciers, and the thermal expansion of the seas, means bigger storm surges

Result of extreme weather : More damages to coastal area

Major climatic changes :

  • Sea levels have risen more than 10 inches since 1870 and over the last 30 years

  • The number of annual weather-related disasters has nearly tripled


  • UN Chief : Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

  • World Bank and Antigua government have conducted a post-disaster needs assessment for Barbuda

  • Eastern Caribbean islands hardest hit by recent hurricanes are Dominica, Barbuda, Turks andCaicos, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla,


RELATED NEWS EVENT : Here’s how lava-spewing mountains affect climate - Volcanic eruptions can trigger El Nino events, according to study

WHAT HAPPENS > Large volcanic eruptions in the tropics can lead to El Nino events, notorious warming periods in the Pacific Ocean with dramatic global impact on the climate- a new study.

HOW > Published in journal Nature Communications .

STAGE 1 : Enormous eruptions trigger pump millions of tonnes of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere

STAGE 2 : Which form a sulfuric acid cloud

STAGE 3:This reflect solar radiation and reduce the average global surface temperature

Method to study after effects of eruption : How much sulfur dioxide goes into the stratosphere — and you can measure it with satellites the day after an eruption

PAST EXPERIENCE : El Nino peak during the year after large volcanic eruptions at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991.

Five big eruptions — Santa Maria (Guatemala) in October 1902, Mount Agung (Indonesia) in March 1963, El Chichon (Mexico) in April 1982 and Pinatubo in June 1991.

THE MAJOR ONE : The study focussed on the Mount Pinatubo eruption because it is the largest and best-documented tropical one in the modern technology period. It ejected about 20 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide.

Findings : Pinatubo-like eruptions tend to shorten La Ninas, lengthen El Ninos, and lead to unusual warming during neutral periods.


  • THE ENSO : The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is Nature’s leading mode of periodic climate variability. It features sea surface temperature anomalies in the central and eastern Pacific.

  • THE El Nino Cycle : ENSO events (consisting of El Nino or La Nina, a cooling period) unfold every three to seven years and usually peak at the end of the calendar year, causing worldwide impact on the climate by altering atmospheric circulation



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