Climate change: more intense weather events are expected

“The Earth is on a fire that is getting stronger and more energy will create more intense weather events.” Vassen Kauppaymuthoo’s opinion summarizing the state in which planet Earth finds itself. And Maurice will not be able to avoid it. Events began to happen. The environmental expert cites as examples the flooding in Port Louis in March 2013 and the passage of very strong Cyclone Fantala in April 2016, the strongest system ever recorded with winds blowing in the southwestern Indian Ocean basin. 360 km/h.

Other similar or more extreme events are expected in the coming months, as indicated in the Council of Ministers summary of 6 January. (To see more). It is about changes in the ocean and the atmosphere that interacts between them.

Using the example of a pot of water on a fire, Vassen Kauppaymuthoo explains that the water will begin to boil and evaporate. Same with the ocean. “If it’s warmer, there will be more vapor, which in turn will create more clouds, which will reflect sunlight and reduce evaporation,” he says. It is this complex system of interactions between the atmosphere and oceans that creates meteorological phenomena,” he explains.

According to him, climate change is also caused by the amount of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. As a result, as a system that must naturally reflect some of the Sun’s energy back into space, the Earth absorbs infrared rays and stores more solar energy. “The planet then finds itself in an analogously stronger fire,” explains the speaker.

Therefore, when it is warmer, there is more moisture in the atmosphere due to heat. When there is more moisture in the atmosphere, the water droplets are larger and the events are stronger. Vassen Kauppaymuthoo says that the greater the difference in temperature and energy, the stronger the events. “That’s what happens with cyclones,” he says. Thus, more energy associated with climate change means more and more intense extreme events. Cyclones will also intensify faster, winds will be stronger and swell more, because the energy is also partially stored in the ocean masses.

Weather information

At the beginning of the week, it is likely to rain and storm

As the atmospheric conditions gradually become unstable in our region, it is expected that temporary and moderate rain will fall on this Monday, January 9. According to Vakoas meteorological station, the rain will continue on Tuesday and probably until January 11.

Those going to school or work should provide umbrellas and coats until at least Tuesday, according to the Vacoas weather station. We are talking about the unstable atmospheric conditions in our region and the approach of the cloud band coming to us from the East.

These rains will be temporary mainly in the eastern half of the island and the central plateau. They will occasionally moderate, accompanied by separate thunderstorms during the day. Showers will become more frequent overnight this Monday, January 9. According to the forecaster of Vakoas meteorological station, the rain may continue until Wednesday morning.

Severe thunderstorm and heavy rain in mid-January

The Council of Ministers meeting on Friday noted the updated report of the Mauritius Meteorological Station on the 2022-2023 summer seasonal outlook for Mauritius and Rodrigues. After analyzing all indicators and taking into account analog models, the meteorological service came to the following conclusion:

(a) the onset of summer rains will be further delayed and is now expected in the second week of January 2023;
(b) from the second half of January 2023 to the end of April 2023, atmospheric conditions will be favorable for the occurrence of extreme weather events such as severe thunderstorms and heavy rains;
(c) temperatures will be near normal;
(d) occasional above-normal temperatures, combined with prolonged periods of high humidity and weak winds, may lead to scorching conditions, particularly in January-March 2023;
(e) the number of named storms developing in the Southwest Indian Ocean basin is expected to be between seven and nine for the 2022-2023 hurricane season;
(f) Strong swells from tropical cyclones developing near the Mascarene Islands may affect the coasts of Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon.

How sensitive are we?

According to the weather station, atmospheric conditions will be favorable for the occurrence of extreme weather events such as severe thunderstorms and heavy rains. This is from the second half of January to the end of April 2023. How vulnerable are we to climate change?

The news is hardly brilliant. Vacoas Weather warns that extreme weather is expected through mid-January. Former Greenpeace executive and environmentalist Sunil Dowarkasing admits that these facts have been known for some time. Our interlocutor explains: “Various reports by meteorologists, especially Japanese and Indian ones, who have conducted research in the region, have predicted extreme turbulence at the meteorological level.”

He says that from now on Mauritius, as well as in other countries of the region, there will be no category 1 and 2 cyclones: “We are waiting for category 3, 4 and 5 cyclones. It will do more damage than before. These phenomena are mainly caused by ENSO and disruption of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which regulate the climate in the region. It is the interaction between the temperature of the atmosphere and the temperature of the sea surface that controls the climate,” says Sunil Dowarkasing.

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