Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ABC clouds and climate change in Nepal

This kind of story scares me when it happens in developing countries, which severely lack manpower and firepower to deal with issues like  fires, wildfires and increasing accumulation of clouds above the skies of major cities, leading to rise in temperature.

According to this news piece, two major national parks in Nepal are burning creating Asian Brown Cloud (whatever that means!) over Kathmandu and other cities. This is compounded by increasing smoke emission from motor vehicle, factories, and cooking gas.

According to NASA, wildfires appear to be raging in or very close to some of the national parks and conservation areas, including Langtang National Park and Makalu Barun National Park, located along the northern border of the country. The forest fire raging in Langtang National Park in Rasuwa district for the last seven days is said to be the worst of all.

According to a NASA report today, there was a reduction of solar radiation to the surface by as much as 15 per cent in Kathmandu. Thirty-seven domestic flights were delayed due to poor visibility caused by hazy weather on Sunday.

A weatherman also blamed the dust particles passing through the northern Indian and Pakistani cities coupled with thick wildfire smoke for the ABC. Apart from Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Pokhara, Dhangadhi and Bhairahawa have also been affected by the ABC, which is concentrated three km above the earth’s surface and can travel halfway around the globe in less than a week.

Can the aid agencies and climate change advocates do something about this? Oh well, who cares about the change going on above in the skies over Nepal. I have not heard of any such international effort to tackle such issues happening in real time in Nepal, at least not since the time I became aware of these issues!