Monday, July 28, 2008

The wettest place on earth is becoming hotter

The town of Cherrapunjee, in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya, is reputed to be the wettest place in the world. But there are signs that its weather patterns may be being hit by global climate change.

One must experience it to have an idea of the immense quantity of rain which comes down from the skies, at times day and night without a stop. It is enough to go a few steps from the house to be drenched from head to foot. An umbrella serves no purpose. I always enjoy getting wet in the rain. I wish I could experience the Cherrapunjee rains once in my lifetime.

But according to Cherrapunjee's most renowned weather-watcher, Denis Rayen, the climate of the town is changing fast. I remember reading in one the books, the British used to come here to the Khasi hills to escape the heat. This place is 4,823ft (1,484m) above sea level.

But today I am not sure the British would be able to do that, because it is getting a lot hotter here and the monsoon is arriving later! The average temperature for Guwahati at this time of the year should be around 32C - but this year the temperature has been as high as 38C.

We could well be witnessing a severe change in our climatic conditions because of global warming.A combination of global warming and intensive deforestation is taking a heavy toll in this, one of the most beautiful areas of India. Now it rains heavily over a shorter time period, crops are destroyed and there is intensive soil erosion. The lack of woodland means that the water flows faster from Meghalaya into the Bangladesh delta, only 400km (249 miles) away.

Some parts of Meghalaya are at risk from desertification because of a combination of increasing urbanisation and industrialisation on the one hand and deforestation and shortages of ground water on the other. Because the capacity of the soil to hold water is lost, there is a real possibility that the wettest place in the earth may soon be facing water shortages. Don’t you think it is an alarm for us to wake up and do something? At least spread awareness among your friends by reading this piece of writing.

Information courtesy: UN live wire

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