OPN Climate emergency
(FILES) A Joshua Tree is seen as the York fire burns in the distance in the Mojave National Preserve on July 30, 2023. The year of 2023 was the hottest on record, with the increase in Earth's surface temperature nearly crossing the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius, EU climate monitors said on January 9, 2023. Climate change intensified heatwaves, droughts and wildfires across the planet, and pushed the global thermometer 1.48 C above the preindustrial benchmark, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported. Image Credit: AFP

Solar storm and northern lights

I’m writing to you today about a fascinating phenomenon that recently lit up the skies across much of the Northern Hemisphere: the Aurora Borealis, also known as the northern lights (“Photos: Rare solar storm brings dazzling northern lights across Europe”, Gulf News, May 11). This dazzling display was caused by a powerful solar storm that hit Earth. Solar storms are eruptions of charged particles from the Sun’s surface. When these particles collide with Earth’s magnetic field, they can trigger spectacular auroras. The stronger the solar storm, the more intense and widespread the auroral display. The recent storm was particularly strong, causing auroras to be visible as far south as Alabama and northern California in the United States. These weren’t the dramatic curtains of colour typically associated with the aurora, but more like splashes of greenish hues. Even so, it was a rare and awe-inspiring sight for many people who wouldn’t normally have the chance to witness the northern lights. Auroras are not just a beautiful light show; they can also have a significant impact on Earth’s technology. Extreme solar storms can disrupt power grids, communication systems, and satellites. Thankfully, the recent storm caused only minor disruptions. However, this event serves as a reminder of the power of the sun and the importance of space weather monitoring.

From Mr Sameer Muhammed


Heat waves on the rise

I am writing this letter to express my deep concern about the extreme heat waves that have been plaguing the city of Mumbai and elsewhere in the India for the past two months. The scorching temperatures have had a devastating impact on the residents, posing serious health issues and affecting the overall well-being of the community. The frequency and intensity of these heat waves have been alarming, making it very difficult for people to cope with the extreme conditions. The lack of proper infrastructure and limited access to reliable electricity exacerbates the situation, leaving many vulnerable individuals without access to cooling systems or adequate shelter. The consequences of these heat waves are far-reaching. Heat-related illnesses like heatstroke and dehydration have become all too common. The elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions are particularly susceptible to the dangers posed by the extreme heat. It is crucial that immediate measures be taken to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. In order to address the pressing issue of extreme heat waves in the country, urgent action from the governments of various states and relevant authorities is essential. Prioritising proactive measures is crucial, including improving urban planning to incorporate more green spaces and increasing shaded areas city-wise. Moreover, investing in public awareness campaigns to educate residents on heat-wave safety measures and establishing accessible cooling centres during extreme heat events are vital steps to alleviate the impact on the community. Furthermore, addressing the underlying factors contributing to climate change and global warming is paramount. Encouraging sustainable practices, such as promoting renewable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions, can help mitigate the long-term effects of extreme heat waves.

From Mr Jubel D’Cruz


India: Hotter than normal summer

Summer in India has been notably hotter than usual this year, with temperatures soaring to unprecedented levels (“India braces for searing heat ahead of world’s biggest election”, Gulf News, April 12). The scorching heat has posed significant challenges for people across the country, leading to concerns about heat-related illnesses and the impact on agriculture. As the mercury continues to rise, it’s essential for individuals to take necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy during this exceptionally hot season. The prolonged heatwave has not only made daily life uncomfortable but has also raised serious health concerns. Heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke are becoming more prevalent, particularly among the elderly and young children. Additionally, the extreme heat has adverse effects on agriculture, leading to drought conditions and affecting crop yields.

In response to this heatwave, it is crucial for individuals to take proactive measures to protect themselves. Staying hydrated is paramount, and it’s important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and staying indoors during the hottest part of the day can also help prevent heat-related illnesses. Furthermore, it’s essential to be mindful of the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and seek medical attention if necessary. In addition to personal precautions, it’s important for communities and authorities to provide support and resources to vulnerable populations, such as the homeless and elderly, during this challenging time. Access to cooling centers and regular check-ins can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of those most at risk. As the heatwave persists, it’s crucial for everyone to prioritise their health and take necessary steps to stay safe in the face of this extraordinary weather.

From Mr Kiran Mohan


Cyber scams rising in India

Cyber scams are on the rise in India, posing a significant threat to individuals and organisations. With the increasing reliance on digital technology and online platforms, cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and deceive unsuspecting victims. It’s crucial for everyone to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to protect their sensitive information and digital assets from these evolving cyber threats. It’s important to be aware of common cyber scams such as phishing, identity theft, and online financial fraud. Implementing strong passwords, using multi-factor authentication, keeping software updated, and being cautious of suspicious links and emails are some proactive measures that can help safeguard against cyber scams. Additionally, staying informed about the latest cyber threats and educating others about online safety practices can contribute to creating a more secure digital environment for everyone.

From Ms Geetha Mahadevan


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