Here in Bangalore the monsoon is on, bringing the low temperatures that the city is known for. Over the past couple of months, we've enjoyed temps between 68 and 83, and expect to enjoy similar temps until February, when temps climb up to the 90s and stay that way until June. Long-time residents will be quick to tell you that 10 or more years ago, the city was much cooler and that global warming has raised the temps. Indeed Bangalore was chosen as a capitol of Mysore because its temperature was more bearable to the British colonists. So, as one impassioned blogger claims, is President Bush ruining the weather in Bangalore?
Not quite. In fact residents of Bangalore are responsible for ruining Bangalore. What we're suffering here is not global warming (which doesn't involve large, noticeable temperature changes in specific locales) but the phenomenon known as an Urban Heat Island. Because concrete and asphalt absorb heat far more (and hold it far longer) than greenery, large urban centers tend to have temperatures around 7 degrees higher than surrounding rural areas. Interestingly enough Bangalore used to be known as the 'Garden City'. A drive around Bangalore these days makes a mockery of the name, as stark, ugly, haphazard concrete buildings are everywhere to be found, and green areas are limited to the military base and a few public parks.
In the end rapid growth driven by the IT industry, combined with lax zoning and construction laws (and even more lax enforcement of those laws), has created a sweltering concrete oven where trees once shaded residents and reflected the heat. Global warming is a real problem, but Bangalore is not evidence of it.