As global temperatures continue to rise, communities around the world are feeling the effects of climate change, including those in the hill station.
Kurseong, a town in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, is experiencing an unusual weather pattern as global temperatures continue to rise due to climate change. Kurseong has traditionally been known for its cool and pleasant climate, making it a popular tourist destination and a haven for those seeking respite from the heat.
However, with temperatures now reaching 33-34°C, the city is feeling the effects of rising temperatures and changing weather patterns. This is highly unusual for a high-altitude area like Kurseong, where the maximum temperature often stays around 25°C even during the monsoon.
Journalist Madhusree Goswami recently tweeted about the situation in Kurseong Tweeted “How to know climate change is really here. My hometown Kurseong, a hill station at little less than 5,000ft, is like a baking oven right now with temperatures around 33_34 degree Celsius. And my folks are contemplating on buying a fan. Ive never grown up with one.”
A Kurseong resident, Rajen Lama said that even in hilly areas like Darjeeling, the maximum temperature usually does not exceed 25°C, while in Kurseong, people are turning on fans, which is an unusual occurrence.”
Experts said that a location can be classified as experiencing a heat wave when the maximum temperature surpasses 40°C and is between 4.5°C to 6.4°C higher than the typical average. Although the maximum temperature may not have reached 40°C in North Bengal, it is currently elevated by five to seven degrees above the average during this monsoon season.
Kurseong is a city located in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is situated at an elevation of around 5,000 feet above sea level and is known for its pleasant climate, tea gardens, and panoramic views.
The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage, with many important landmarks including the Ambotia Shiva Temple, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum, and Dow Hill Boarding School.
Kurseong is also famous for its tea, which is grown in the surrounding hills and exported all over the world. It is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors from all over India and abroad.
Global temperature rise and La Niña
It is anticipated that this year will be slightly warmer than the previous two years on a global scale due to the anticipated end of the strongest La Niña event ever recorded.
La Niña is a weather phenomenon characterized by cooler-than-normal surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which influences global weather patterns. While La Niña conditions generally lead to a temporary cooling effect on the Earth’s atmosphere, the last two years have only been cooler in relative terms.
In 2022, global temperatures were 1.15 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, making it the fifth or sixth warmest year on record.
The World Meteorological Organization reported that in the absence of the La Niña event, temperatures could have been significantly higher.
The cushioning effect against warming provided by La Niña is expected to diminish in the next few months, causing concern that this year may set new warming records.
To date, the hottest year on record was 2016, with average global temperatures 1.28 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average. The eight years from 2015 to 2022 have been the warmest on record, with each year being at least one degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times.
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