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Deep research on rapidly increasing global warming

By Ashwin, 5th year learner at BPS Women University



Do you remember the summer season 2 years ago, the year 2022. An article of Al Jazeera noted ‘Hottest summer ever’ : Many Indian states under ‘severe’ heatwave. Temperature reached 45 degrees Celsius. The report of The NEWS Minute reads ‘India saw its hottest April in 122 years, says IMD’. But then came the summer of 2023. In 2023, the summer season was so scorching hot that scientists said that it was the hottest summer in the last 2,000 years in the northern hemisphere of Earth. But then we came to the year 2024. As per the Fox Weather report, ‘First month of 2024 was Earth’s warmest January on record, scientists say’. Forbes said, ‘Hot Streak: February 2024 was the 9th Consecutive Hottest Month on record’. According to The Indian Express, ‘Hottest March ever recorded, 12-months average temperature reaches new record’. The Independent report reads, ‘April 2024 was hottest on record, making 11 months of new highs.


The last 11 months on Earth have been record breaking in terms of heat. The scorching heat that you have to bear today is not normal and you are not alone. Last month in South India and in the entire Southeast Asia, record breaking heat waves were seen. Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, there are such unbearable temperatures. In the Philippines, the heat index had crossed 53 degree Celsius as per the report of ABSCBN news. In Uttarakhand, there were forest fires. Heat wave warnings are being issued all over the country, and now temperatures have been soaring above 46 degree Celsius in North India.





Global warming and climate change are the main reasons behind all this. But they are not the only reason. Let’s understand the other reasons that are causing this. First, we need to understand that such extreme weather events are not only seen in India or Southeast Asia but also in every corner of the world. South Africa is witnessing a terrible drought.


There is one weather event behind all this destruction which is considered the biggest cause, El Niño. It is a natural cycle of the Earth’s climate that is seen every 5-7 years. But due to climate change, it is becoming more extreme year after year. The full name of this cycle is El NiñoSouthern Oscillation. In short, it is called ENSO. According to the World Health Organization, this is the second biggest cause that changes the climate of the Earth. And in the first place is the relationship between the Earth and the Sun. Earth’s revolution around the Sun, which causes the seasons to change.


El Niño


It is seen in the Pacific Ocean, which is the largest and deepest ocean lying in between Asia and America. Water keeps moving from one side to another as winds blow over the Pacific Ocean flowing from east to west. These winds are called Trade winds and most of the time, they move from the Americas to the direction of Asia and Australia because it is based on Earth’s rotation. Since Earth rotates from west to east, due to this Coriolis effect, the Trade winds flow in the opposite direction. Due to this, the water on the surface of the Pacific Ocean starts flowing towards the west. So, in the east, the water below the surface level of the sea starts rising to the surface. This is called Upwelling, the water that rises from the depths of the ocean, is much colder comparatively and has more nutrients. Because of this, fish and marine life also benefit.


Now, just imagine if these trade winds have weakened and not flowing as strongly over the Pacific Ocean. Then, the upwelling will be weak, and the hot water on the surface will consistently remain hot and the clouds that were supposed to bring rain to Australia can rain anywhere over the Pacific Ocean. So, the Australia region will become very dry.

This is the phenomenon of El Niño. This cycle of El Niñolasts for 6 to 12 months. During El Niño, the weather patterns of the world change. In Australia and Southeast Asia, it causes higher temperature and drier weather conditions. The risk of heat waves increases. And the wildfires that took place in Australia in 2020 caused by this El Niño. Since then, today, from January 2023 till now another El Niñois in effect.

The interesting thing here is that in South America, El Niñohas the opposite effect as it has in Asia and Australia. That is, it only rains there. The risk of floods increases. That’s why we see many devastating floods in Brazil. Apart from this, there is an opposite phenomenon of El Niñowhich is La Nina. Both these words are from Spanish. Scientists believe that climate change caused by humans is making the El Niño effect extreme.




Relative Humidity means the maximum moisture content in the air at a particular temperature. Hundred percent relative humidity means that air is completely saturated at a certain temperature. It is holding as much moisture that it possibly can and can not hold anymore. The hotter the air is, the more is its capacity of retaining moisture. Hot air can hold more moisture as compared to cold air. It means that if the relative humidity of cold air and hot air is at 100%, hot air will have more moisture. And as the humidity increases the more difficult it becomes for our body for the sweat on our body to evaporate. And sweating, as you know, is the number one way for our body to keep us cool. If it is really hot and there is high humidity, we will not be able to sweat and our body will not be able to keep itself cool.



Urban Heat Island Effect


In different areas of a city, some places are hotter and some are colder. At places with more trees, like parks or any other place, the temperature is relatively more comfortable there compared to other areas. And the areas with only big concrete buildings, tall glass buildings, and 8-lane highways are way hotter. These places are known as Urban Heat Islands. There is a very simple reason behind it. The glass and the concrete in buildings, asphalt on roads all of these absorb heat. They absorb the sunlight and the air does not circulate much and at night the absorbed heat is released out into the air.




Measurement and statics


It is important to consider both temperature and humidity and one metric that considers both of these things together is the Heat Index.

Heat Index


Heat Index tells us how hot the weather outside will feel for us.




Let’s come to the solution of this. What can we do to avoid this heat?

Cities should be designed where the temperature outside is comfortable and there is enough greenery that people can walk to where they need to go. Cars should be used as little as possible because cars also release heat, which increases the Urban Heat Island effect. The government has banned cars from the city on a large scale, in Paris. Paris also removed asphalt and planted trees and promoted cycling in 2023. All this to reduce the intensity of the Urban Heat Island effect and people have a comfortable temperature to live in the city.


Promoting public transport as an alternative is very important. Using Air Conditioners, another thing that raises the intensity of Urban Heat Island Effect. An alternative to this is to use natural methods, Ventilation should be incorporated into the design of the building in a way that there is minimum need of an AC. Another alternative can be to plant greenery on the roof.


Radiant cooling is a new technology which saves a lot of money in comparison to Air Conditioners. In this, pipes are installed in the walls through which cold water flows. And keeps the house cool without an AC. This technology is being used in many new buildings. More trees and more parks should be there to minimise the impact of heat waves.





A recent study by Future projections for the Tropical Indian Ocean showed that in a few years, we will see almost permanent marine heat waves in the Indian Ocean. By 2050, in many areas heat waves will last for 220 to 250 days a year. We will have to implement all these solutions as soon as possible, because in the near future the heat waves are going to get more dangerous and more impactful.









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