Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Climate change visible across continents

  • Md Asiuzzaman, Toronto, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-05-07 01:27:05 BdST

bdnews24

Early cherry blossoms in Japan, the warmest February in Toronto and the highest April rainfall in Bangladesh have been recorded in first five months in 2017. Do these changes tell us anything about climate change?

Cherry blossom is a seasonal and cultural hallmark in Japan where the full-flowering season has started drifting earlier and earlier.

According to scientists, from its most recent peak in 1829 when the full-blown could be expected on Apr 18 but since 1970 the season has drifted back to Apr 7.

Many people see the change as a mystery, but the scientists say that “cherry tree rely on temperatures in February and March.” The change in temperature is evident in the climate, they added.

Yasuyuki Aono and Keiko Kazui, two Japanese scientists, have demonstrated that the full-blossom date for Kyoto’s cherry trees can predict March temperatures to within 0.1 degrees Celsius.

“A warmer planet makes for warmer Marches. The usual full-blooming date in Washington, DC, whose cherry-blossom festival is a relative newcomer (it launched in 1927), has also moved up by five days since the first recorded date in 1921,” The Economist reported quoting a scientist.

According to the report, “diarists have keenly chronicled the comings and goings of cherry blossoms for centuries—records from Kyoto, the old capital, date back 1,200 years.”

“This precious, ancient data set reveals a disturbing trend: in recent decades, the blossoms have emerged much sooner than they once did.”

Meanwhile, this year, the warmest ever February day was recorded in Toronto since 1938 with temperature soared to 17.7 degrees Celsius, highly unusual in Canadian winter season.

A woman paddles a kayak past an abandoned car on a flooded residential street in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, May 4, 2017. Reuters

A woman paddles a kayak past an abandoned car on a flooded residential street in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, May 4, 2017. Reuters

The previous record for the warmest day ever in February was set last year on Feb 3 with a high of 16 degrees Celsius.

Weather records for Toronto started in 1938.

The temperatures also shattered a 33-year-old record high of 14.9 degrees Celsius for Feb 23, set back in 1984.

“The Torontonians enjoyed an exceptionally balmy day, but it wasn’t just a record high for Feb 23; it was the warmest day ever recorded in February,” bdnews24.com reported earlier.

Just a few days ago, the city with a population of around 2.6 million, broke another temperature record on Feb 18 when temperatures hovered at 12 degrees Celsius, beating out the 2011 record at 11 degrees Celsius.

To contrast, the lowest temperature for the day in 1972 was -19.4 degrees Celsius.

In contrast, many parts of Canada are now experiencing flash flood due to heavy rain in early May.

In Bangladesh, the country recorded the highest rainfall in April in 35 years.

According to the Meteorological Department, in first three weeks of the month, nearly 8,904 mm of rain was recorded against the April average of 4,053 mm.

“Some 10,000 mm of rainfall was recorded in April in 1981,” an official in the weather office said. “We have recorded nearly 9,000 mm of rain in first three weeks of the month.”

“This year the rain started even before the Boishakh. We experience nor’wester in this season but not much rain. This kind of rain we usually see in monsoon,” the meteorologist told bdnews24.com.

The weather experts are calling it ‘climate variability’. A trough of low-lying over West Bengal and adjoining area, which extends to North Bay, and an existing steep pressure gradient over North Bay are responsible for the current rainfall.

“Even if there is heavy rain, it is around 47 to 76 percent higher than the average, but this year it is 119.7 percent higher than the average April rainfall,” the weatherman said.

A visitor rides a boat in the Chidorigafuchi moat covered with petals of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan, April 13, 2017. Reuters

A visitor rides a boat in the Chidorigafuchi moat covered with petals of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Japan, April 13, 2017. Reuters

“The rainfall so far this month is 119.7 percent higher than the average of the month,” meteorologist Ruhul Kuddus told bdnews24.com.

“This is unusual, I must say,” he added.

In 1981, the rainfall was 168 percent higher than the average, he added.

Former director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department Samarendra Karmaker told bdnews24.com that this kind of change in weather pattern could be experienced in every 20 to 30 years.

The visibly changing weather patterns in these three countries across the continents give a clear picture of climate change, and Bangladesh may become the worst victim of the change.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called the world leaders for action to tackle the climate change effects in a number of conferences.

Speaking at a panel discussion titled 'Climate Security: Good COP, Bad Cops' during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in February, she said, "Climate change is a global issue, and its solution should also be a global one. It requires combined, concerted and coherent actions.”