The year 2024 paints a picture of scorching heat in India, where climate change has become a pressing reality. With 2023 already holding the crown for the hottest year ever, surpassing the 19th-century average by 1.4°C, experts predict 2024 might take the heatwave to unprecedented levels. Professor Jagdish Shukla, a renowned scientist and alumnus of BHU leading the INAGMET-2024 conference, sheds light on the factors driving this extreme climate scenario in a conversation with Dainik Bhaskar.
Warming Oceans Fueling Heat
Professor Shukla, whose career spans over 35 years in climate forecasting, highlights the impact of El Niño, a cyclical warming in the Pacific Ocean. With El Niño reaching its peak in December 2023, its lingering warmth threatens to push temperatures even higher in 2024. This, coupled with the ongoing phenomenon of global warming, paints a worrying picture for the coming year.
Global Warming and El Nino Intensify Climate Shifts
Professor Shukla warns of the combined effects of global warming and El Niño. The past 50 years have seen Earth’s temperature rise by 1°C, impacting ecosystems worldwide. When this merges with El Niño’s influence, the repercussions are amplified, leading to erratic monsoon patterns, uneven rainfall, and increased risks of extreme weather events.
From Maps to Supercomputers – A Revolution in Indian Weather Forecasting
Reflecting on India’s journey in weather forecasting, Professor Shukla describes a transformative shift marked by technological advancements. In 1989, he spearheaded the integration of supercomputing into monsoon predictions, moving away from rudimentary map-based forecasts. This innovative approach, utilizing complex mathematical models, enabled more accurate predictions and timely warnings.
India’s Leadership in Climate Action
Professor Shukla emphasizes India’s proactive approach to tackling climate change. From the establishment of the Ministry of Earth Sciences in 2005 to Prime Minister Modi’s championing of sustainable solutions at the 2015 Paris summit, India has emerged as a leader in climate resilience. The focus on solar energy as a key strategy underscores the nation’s commitment to limiting global warming.
INAGMET-2024 – Charting a Path Toward a Sustainable Future
The INAGMET-2024 conference brought together over 200 scientists, including esteemed figures like Professor Gyan Prakash Singh, Professor Manoj Kumar Shrivastav, and Professor Rajesh Mall. This gathering served as a platform for collaboration and innovation, aiming to develop impactful solutions to address the challenges posed by climate change.
Standing at a Crossroads
As India faces the brunt of climate change, it also stands at a crucial juncture. With rising temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns, the need for collective global action has never been greater. By leveraging scientific knowledge, technological advancements, and unwavering determination, India paves the way towards a more sustainable and resilient future, offering hope for the entire world.