Published On : Tue, Dec 30th, 2014

Are the same weather conditions responsible for our cold winter and disappearance of Air Asia jet near Indonesia?


File Pic

File Pic


Many Nagpurians must have felt the chill in their bones without knowing that yesterday was the coldest night here in 45 years! The mercury dipped to 4 degrees which is a new low after being 5.5 on December 29th in 1968. Asst. meteorologist A S Khan said that the cold wave is gripping the entire country with Kargil at – 15.6 and Delhi just 2.6. This intense cold with the accompanying fog caused 23 international flights to be delayed or even diverted and 98 trains originating from Delhi are running late.


For those expecting the weather to improve, here is some bad news: the winter is going to get much worse before it improves.

Climatologists and weather specialists are forecasting that winter over the northern hemisphere is going to be the coldest ever in over a century. In fact Britain is preparing for a Winter Freeze that is going to Arctic in nature. It is going to be so cold that they believe normal life will be paralyzed for five months.Same is the condition in North America.

This freak weather has already taken its toll by way of lost lives.

NGOs working for poor people of India like Action Aid  said it knew more than hundred people had died of cold without finding shelter in Delhi and rest of North India while the governments have been most apathetic to the unusual cold that is the worst in decades.

Over 100,000 homeless people in Delhi alone are exposed to intense cold weather. Over 100 people have died in Uttar Pradesh and a few people in Rajasthan,” said Sandeep Chachra, who works for the charity and reports to the Supreme Court.

But few realize the horrifying and multiplying effects that such cold weather can have over the whole globe even in unanticipated ways.

Dipping Mercuries not only affect people and lives but can affect the vast oceans, their currents, then the air over it which translates into typhoons, storms and natural calamities.

The question to ponder on is, can this unusual cold freeze have caused the tropical storm over the Indian ocean between Indonesia and Singapore that could have caused the jet to disappear?

Cold airs are known to cause storms, especially over oceans. To explain it in simple terms, when cold breezes and hot collide, the less dense hot air tends to rise displacing the colder air in the upper atmosphere. Cold breezes typically originate from the cold poles of the earth – Arctic and Antartic while the hot breezes rise from the equatorial area. When warm wet air is forced up it causes surface temperatures and pressure to dip and a vacuum like situation is created. Cold, wet air rushes to fill in this vacuum which causes more warm air to be displaced and you have the ideal conditions for a typhoon over open seas. Since earth rotates from west to east it dragging the atmosphere with it.

Although little is known about the jet’s disappearance, the region has been struck by torrential rain. That has some weather and aviation experts speculating that inclement weather could have played a role in the flight’s disappearance

The plane was still traceable about five minutes before it disappeared, according to Indonesian state media. One minute before it lost contact, the pilot requested to raise the plane’s flying altitude because of bad weather.

Jitendra Bhargava, author of Descent India agrees that bad weather can cause accidents, but argues that other planes were also flying in the same area. As some US scientists have discussed these extreme weather events can dramatically perturb jet streams. A dip in the jet stream is associated with contracting air and cold temperatures. It dramatically amplifies the jet stream that acts like cracking a whip..

The further bad news for the earth is that it has seen such a brutal cold weather exactly 300 years ago, ironically because of violent volcanic eruptions. As a strange co incidence this volcano erupted in what is now Malaysia on the island of Sumbawa. The eruption lowered global tempratures and led to global cooling and world wide harvest failures, sometime known as the year without a summer.

In their excellent book – Year without Summer 1816 and the Volcano that darkened the world and changed history William & Nicholas have outlined the effects of the cold that year.

Not just did harvests fail but there were torrential rains, floods and life was lost and disrupted as far away as China and India.

There were multiple causes for the extreme weather of 1816, but all of them were natural, not man-made.  Chief among them, according to the Klingamans, was the massive eruption of Tamboro in present-day Indonesia.  The force of the explosion was ten times greater than that of Krakatoa, which took place in 1883.  Heightened volcanic activity sent ash particles into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and disrupting the northern hemispheric jet stream.  One after another, polar vortexes dropped south, not just in the winter, but throughout 1816, and to a lesser extent for years afterward.

The winter of 2013-14 bears a striking resemblance to that of 1815-16, and there is every reason to believe that what follows will repeat the pattern of earlier periods of extreme cold.  The consequences will not be pleasant.  As some have begun to realize, periods of extreme cold are far more destructive than periods of warming.

Like 1815, 2013 saw significant volcanic activity, with major eruptions in Indonesia, Alaska, Italy, Argentina, and Japan.

The unusual cold we are seeing is definitely a fall out of these volcanic activities. What further horrors are going to unfold only coming months will tell. Let us not forget that two centuries later there have been many man made causes for the earth’s distress also.
Is the movie 2012 going to come true two years later?