Climate Change has made weather events more extreme, more likely and far less predictable. We were drawn upon this realisation when Ockhi hit the Kerala Coast in early 2017 and left massive destruction in its wake. Ockhi was just a deep depression which took only six hours to turn into a cyclonic storm. It gathered speed and changed its course a several times due to intense heat pockets in the oceans and finally hit the coast. Courtesy of Ockhi, we invested more in technologies that could better predict these extreme events but by the time Fani arrived, we were already outdated. Cyclone Fani moved inland in summer- at a time when storms brewed in the ocean never are supposed to hit land.
This is the nature of storms in the skids of Climate Change. It’s like rolling a dice; it depends on probabilities or in simple terms- it depends on sheer luck. A study done by the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Toronto suggested that the change in normal weather pattern will happen in two phases; first, there will be a gradual change in the average weather pattern due to precipitation which could lead to droughts or floods, second, there will be an increase in the consistency of extreme weather events due to rise in surface level temperatures which will lead to recurring and high category storms and cyclones.Fani was category 4 storm.
Find out how storms are divided into categories.
Developing counties are vulnerable to these disasters, and “adaptation” for humans usually is at the last-grasp. We already know what it means to adapt to a specific climatic condition and that it does not happen overnight. For instance, Polar Bears are finding it hard to adapt to the changing environment caused due to the melting polar ice. Koalas are now considered fundamentally extinct due to recurring forest fires which destroy their habitats. Several other animals share the same fate but not all hope is lost and there is a story more hopeful; the tale of the Tawny Owl.
30 years ago in northern Europe, the white Tawny Owl camouflaged in snow- effectively hiding from predators. Over the years, Climate Change has to lead to significantly less snowfall, changing the landscape of the area and making it difficult for the owls to hide with their white feathers. Natural selection and evolution turned these owls brown in colour, helping them adapt to the new environment. Some animals evolve quickly while others lose their fight to natural selection. However few organisms like some species of Mosquitoes, are so well adapted that they have not evolved in over a million years. Play this adaptation game to know how animals adapt to specific conditions.
It’s important to remember that adaptation is not always physical. For countries to develop, adaptation is a result of sustainability. Studies state that increase in intensity of tropical cyclones will displace millions of people who reside in low-lying areas of temperate and tropical regions of Asia. Governments must incorporate climate risk in developmental plans and must change their policies accordingly instead of just investing in recovery operations.