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India’s Weather Woes: Rising Sea Levels, Heatwave & Water Crisis 

Rising sea levels, heat waves and water crises are just the tip of the iceberg for India’s weather woes.

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Mumbai’s rising sea-level pose a serious threat to the city. Image used for representation.
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Sea levels are estimated to have risen by 1.3 millimetres annually along the Indian coasts during the past 40-50 years, the government said on Friday, 28 June.

In a written response to a question, Union Minister for State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey said the rising sea levels can exacerbate the impact of coastal hazards, such as storm surges, tsunamis, coastal floods, high waves and erosion in the low-lying areas in addition to causing a gradual loss of land into the sea.

“Recent studies by Indian scientists reveal that the trends of sea level rise is estimated to be 1.3mm/year along the Indian coasts during the last 40-50 years,” Choubey said.

He was standing in for Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan who is in Japan to attend the G20 Summit.

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Some parts of the Indian coastline have been facing erosion and river mouths are experiencing deltaic subsidence, he noted.

"However, it has not been established that these manifestations are only due to rise in sea level," he said.

A Hindustan Times report stated that the rate of increase in the sea level, recorded at locations across India, is on par with the global average, and much higher than the global average in some instances.

Rising Sea Levels Amid Severe Heatwaves: The Cost of Climate Change?

The statement about the rising sea levels comes even as several parts of India face an intense heatwave.

Despite receiving 0.8 mm rainfall, Churu in Rajasthan was the hottest place in the state, recording a maximum temperature of 44.3 degree Celsius. Churu recorded the highest temperature in India at 50.8 degree Celsius on 1 June.

Uttar Pradesh’s capital, Lucknow, recorded a maximum temperature of 42 degrees Celsius, seven degrees above the normal.

Despite sparse showers, heatwave conditions are likely to prevail at isolated places in eastern Uttar Pradesh on 29 June. Banda was the hottest place in UP at 44.2 degrees Celsius.

Most parts of Haryana and Punjab recorded maximum temperatures above the normal limits with Amritsar being the hottest place in both the states at 42 degrees Celsius.

While parts of north India grapple with heatwave conditions, in the south, Tamil Nadu is in the throes of a water crisis. The four major drinking water reservoirs in Chennai currently hold less than 1% of their capacity.

“Many people die in India every year because of heatwaves. The major causes of rising temperatures during the 20th century are an increase in greenhouse gases (GHG) and changes in land use and land cover,” Choubey said, the Hindustan Times reported.

(With inputs from PTI and Hindustan Times)

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