Hyderabad: The year 2019 was the seventh warmest year on record according to the Indian Meteorological Department, as the average temperature was 0.36°C above the 1981 to 2010 period.
There have been 11 warm years since 2005-2019. Nationwide records have been maintained since 1901. The global mean surface temperature in 2019 from January to October was + 1.10°C, and that means that during the non-rain months the temperature is one degree more than normal. The warmest year according to the IMD was 2016.
These increasing temperatures have an impact on plant and animal life. A variation of 0.3 to 1°C during the non-rain months means that there is a huge difference in the day and night temperatures.
Deputy-director of the state horticulture department, K. Venugopal, explained, “When the temperature in the day time rises, cooling down again is not so fast. For this reason, night temperatures are also warm. This affects plant life as there is delay in flowering. Delayed flowering from one month to one and a half months has been noted. Late flowering leads to late fruit and less yield. This has led to increased use of artificial fertilisers, coolants and maintenance of moisture to allow the plant to survive.” The increasing temperatures have made farmers and also the government opt for schemes of cultivation where some part of the land is shaded and controlled temperatures will help to save plants and yield.
Challenges are being seen in seasonal fruits such as mango, chikoo, guava and many others, where the high temperatures lead to delayed cycle of flowering and fruiting.
Apart from plants, in the animal kingdom, high temperatures have taken a toll on tigers and lions that can remain thirsty for three days after which they have problems. Forest officials have been creating water patches for these animals so that they can survive.
Birds are the worst affected, explained Dr M.A. Hakeem, deputy director of the Nehru Zoological Park, as the hot air and lack of shade-giving trees takes a toll on them. Dr Hakeem explained, “The rising temperatures affect birds as they face the warm and hot winds at the upper level. They need the cool to survive. But with urbanisation and heat islands in buildings, there is only hot and warm air for them in the summer months. The increasing temperatures are taking a toll on these species and it is very important that there are more shade-giving trees which will protect them.”
Before summer, Hyderabad witnesses cutting of tree branches as the strong hot winds may cause weak branches to break off. This causes further loss of shade for birds.
While citizens put out water for birds, it is not enough as they also require a cool environment during the peak hours of summer....