Hyderabad City soaked in pre-monsoon showers

HYDERABAD: Pre-monsoon showers lashed through the twin cities on Tuesday bringing in the much-needed relief from the sweltering weather. Officials from the Met department said the rain was an indication of the ensuing monsoon. “These showers will continue till the onset of monsoon.

While the day time temperatures will continue to remain high, evenings will be cooler because of the pre-monsoon showers,” said R V Subba Rao, assistant meteorologist, Met department. On Tuesday, the maximum temperature was recorded as 42.3 degrees.

Officials said the rain was due to the trough from Chhattisgarh to south Tamil Nadu across Telangana and south coastal AP. The officials added that the rains are isolated. Following the showers, the GHMC’s emergency wing got complaints of water logging from Jubilee Hills, Lakdikapul, Chikkadpally, Secretariat, Osmangunj, Jambagh and Greenlands.

From TOI

After Rain Cool walk

Undaunted:Even as summer rain brought respite from scorching heat on Saturday morning, it did not dampen the spirit of walkers on the Thiruvanmiyur beach. — Photo: N. Sridharan


Wildlife: Climate change could drown out Sundarbans tigers

January 2010. One of the world’s largest tiger populations could disappear by the end of this century as rising sea levels caused by climate change destroy their habitat along the coast of Bangladesh in an area known as the Sundarbans, according to a new WWF-led study published in the journal Climatic Change.

A small rise in sea levels would drown the Sundarbans. Credit © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon

Tigers are among the world’s most threatened species, with only an estimated 3,200 remaining in the wild. WWF officials said the threats facing these Royal Bengal tigers and other iconic species around the world highlight the need for urgent international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tigers are highly adaptable – They just need some space

“If we don’t take steps to address the impacts of climate change on the Sundarbans, the only way its tigers will survive this century is with scuba gear,” said Colby Loucks, WWF-US deputy director of conservation science and the lead author of the study Sea Level Rise and Tigers: Predicted Impacts to Bangladesh’s Sundarbans Mangroves. “Tigers are a highly adaptable species, thriving from the snowy forests of Russia to the tropical forests of Indonesia.
“The projected sea level rise in the Sundarbans will likely outpace the tiger’s ability to adapt.”

Just 28cm sea level rise will destroy 96% of the Sundarbans

An expected sea level rise of 28 cm above 2000 levels may cause the remaining tiger habitat in the Sundarbans to decline by 96 percent, pushing the total population to fewer than 20 breeding tigers, according to the study.

Mangrove trees in the Sundarbans National Park, Bangladesh. © David Woodfall / WWF-UK

Unless immediate action is taken, the Sundarbans, its wildlife and the natural resources that sustain millions of people may disappear within 50 to 90 years, the study states.

One of the world’s most threatened habitats

“The mangrove forest of the Bengal tiger now joins the sea-ice of the polar bear as one of the habitats most immediately threatened as global temperatures rise during the course of this century,” said Keya Chatterjee, acting director of the WWF-US climate change program. “To avert an ecological catastrophe on a much larger scale, we must sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change we failed to avoid.”

Ganges Estuary

The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by India and Bangladesh at the mouth of the Ganges River, is the world’s largest single block of mangrove forest. Mangroves are found at the inter-tidal region between land and sea, and not only serve as breeding grounds for fish but help protect coastal regions from natural disasters such as cyclones, storm surges and wind damage.

Up to 400 tigers live here

Providing the habitat for between 250 and 400 tigers, the Sundarbans is also home to more than 50 reptile species, 120 commercial fish species, 300 bird species and 45 mammal species. While their exact numbers are unclear, the tigers living in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh may represent as many as 10 percent of all the remaining wild tigers worldwide.

Using the rates of sea level rise projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007), the study’s authors wrote that a 28 cm sea level rise may be realized around 2070, at which point tigers will be unlikely to survive in the Sundarbans. However, recent research suggests that the seas may rise even more swiftly than what was predicted in the 2007 IPCC assessment.

Already under pressure from population growth

In addition to climate change, the Sundarbans tigers, like other tiger populations around the world already face tremendous threats from poaching and habitat loss. Tiger ranges have decreased by 40 percent over the past decade, and tigers today occupy less than seven percent of their original range. Scientists fear that accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching could push some tiger populations to the same fate as their now-extinct Javan and Balinese relatives in other parts of Asia.

Tigers are poached for their highly prized skins and body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The 2010 Year of the Tiger will mark an important year for conservation efforts to save wild tigers, with WWF continuing to play a vital role in implementing bold new strategies to save this magnificent Asian big cat.

Recommendations in the study include:

Locally, governments and natural resource managers should take immediate steps to conserve and expand mangroves while preventing poaching and retaliatory killing of tigers.
Regionally, neighbouring countries should increase sediment delivery and freshwater flows to the coastal region to support agriculture and replenishment of the land;
Globally, governments should take stronger action to limit greenhouse gas emissions;
“It’s disheartening to imagine that the Sundarbans – which means ‘beautiful forest’ in Bengali – could be gone this century, along with its tigers,” Loucks said. “We very much hope that in this, the Year of the Tiger, the world will focus on curtailing the immediate threats to these magnificent creatures and preparing for the long-term impacts of climate change.”

From Wildlife Extra

No rain occurred in Kerala and Lakshadweep

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: No rain occurred in Kerala and Lakshadweep. Minimum temperature was appreciably below normal in Alappuzha district and it fell appreciably in Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam district.

According to meteorology sources here, Alappuzha and CIAL Kochi and Kottayam recorded the lowest minimum temperature of 19 degree celsius.

Forecast valid until the morning of January 18, mainly dry weather will prevail over Kerala and Lakshadweep, outlook no significant change.

From TOI

Tirunelveli: Good inflow into dam following rain

TIRUNELVELI: All seven shutters of Manimuthar dam was opened on Sunday following intermittent drizzle in its catchment areas in the Western Ghats and consequent good inflow of water into the largest reservoir of the district.

BOON FOR FARMERS: Surplus water flowing from Manimuthar dam in Tirunelveli district on Sunday.—Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

Thanks to the low pressure in the Bay of Bengal, there were intermittent drizzles in the plains of the district as well as the Western Ghats on Saturday night.

As water level at the dam, which stood at 115.33 feet on Saturday, rose to 117.80 feet on Sunday against the maximum capacity of 118 feet following the inflow of 22,000 cusecs around 6.30 a.m., 12,572 cusecs were discharged through the surplus gates.

However, the discharge was lowered to 5,500 cusecs after 11 a.m. as the inflow also reduced considerably.


Chennai: Rain likely for two days

CHENNAI: The city is likely to get rain for the next two days with the deep depression intensifying into cyclonic storm ‘Ward’, which lies 550 km south east of Nagapattinam and 700 km south-southeast of Chennai on Friday.

Meteorological Department officials said the cyclonic system is likely to move in north westerly direction towards the Tamil Nadu coast during the next two days.


Ooty: Landslips put traders of Burliar in a spot

Every 15 years they are subjected to harrowing experience

Udhagamandalam: Residents of Burliar on the Mettupalayam-Ooty national highway once again found themselves in an unenviable position which has been created by the recent natural calamity.

Huge landslips triggered by heavy rain have rendered the road useless.

Consequently the residents, most of whom are small traders dependent on motorists and bus passengers for a livelihood have been forced to down shutters.

Though the Nilgiris is accessible by road from a few directions and rail from Mettupalayam, the Mettupalayam-Coonoor ghat road via Kallar and Burliar has for long been considered the main approach to the hills and it is used to a considerable extent.

Burliar has in the last fortnight been languishing on account of the road being closed.

It has been the main place for re-filling radiators before continuing the upward journey towards Udhagamandalam, for quenching a parched throat and for purchasing fruits, spices and snacks.

Drivers of many vehicles going towards Mettupalayam also stop at Burliar. A puja performed for both ascending and descending vehicles in front of a local temple is a long standing practice.

Speaking to The Hindu some of the traders said that ever since a similar natural calamity occurred a few decades ago, they have learnt to live with the apprehension that heavy rain can affect their livelihood at any time.

Pointing out that every 10 or 15 years they are subjected to a harrowing experience by landslips, they lamented that for long an alternative has eluded them.

Roadside petty vendors said that they are the worst affected.