The temperature in Bengaluru soared to 37.2 degrees Celsius on March 31, 2021. This, according to the meteorological department, is the all-time high in the last 4 years. According to the department, the previous year was much cooler. They expect that the heat to remain on the higher end for a few more days. Karnataka’s capital is expected to swing between 32 and 37 degrees Celsius until at least for a week, said Dr. C S Patil, director, Karnataka Meteorological Center.
Experts point fingers at the people for this change in the weather pattern over the years. Bengaluru was once famous as the garden city, cool capital and pensioner’s paradise has lost its green cover considerably over the years. Trees as old as a few hundred are chopped down relentlessly every day. All this has done no good to the environment. The absence of a canopy is the leading reason for soaring temperatures, says Dr. Yellappa Reddy, a senior environmentalist.
The tree canopy not just protects the tree itself, but also the life around it.
The shadow of the canopy increases in magnitude during sunrise and sunset. This is the time when the intensity of sun rays is sharp on the surface of the earth. Absence of trees will direct the sunlight on to the ground heating it up further. The additional heat from the surface of the earth adds up to the already existing temperature of the atmosphere making it burn.
Bengaluru boasted of varieties of trees on either side of the streets. Whether residential or commercial area, an array of huge trees mostly native species was seen in abundance over centuries. But with the greed of men, majestic trees that have grown for decades, are brought down easily in minutes citing urban development and basic amenities projects. Though it is said that they plant four trees for every tree that is brought down, they fail to understand that it would take at least 30 years of time for that sapling to grow this huge and do its job.
The increase in usage of concrete, steel, aluminum, and glass in construction has also added to the temperature woes of Bengaluru. Even the humble pavements are concretized and most buildings have unnecessarily decorated in large glass panes. The climate in Bengaluru is cooler outside than these glass-clad buildings, says Dr. Yellappa Reddy.
Bengaluru hasn’t received its share of summer showers in March this year. The meteorological department expects no rain for another four days at least. Summer is expected to continue with the same intensity until May and any mild showers in between might just cool down the city a bit. Until then, this heat is here to stay.