Weather alert

While 2015 was the hottest year on record, Indian cities have been getting warmer by the year

The average temperature in the country has risen by 2.2°C over the last 200 years, according to a study.

With 2015 now the hottest year since records started being kept 135 years ago, Delhi, Mumbai and other Indian cities have heated up substantially since the 19th and 20th centuries, data from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reveal.

Mumbai’s average annual temperature has risen 2.4 °C since 1891 and Delhi’s average annual temperature has risen 0.3 °C since 1930, as the chart below indicates:

Source: NASA
Source: NASA

An alternative study from Berkeleyearth.org, a US non-profit that analyses climate science, appears to confirm the larger trend seen in the temperature rise in India: a rise of 2.2 °C over 200 years.

Source: BerkeleyEarth.org
Source: BerkeleyEarth.org

Finland, Spain experience greatest warming

NASA took data from 6,300 weather stations around the world and compared it to a baseline, which is the average temperature from 1951-1980 (and can be taken roughly as 14 °C). In 2015, the temperature deviation from the baseline was 0.87 °C, making it the hottest year since 2014, when the global temperature was 0.74 °C above the baseline.

Source: NASA
Source: NASA

The 10 hottest years on record have now all occurred after 2000 and deviations from the baseline have increased at a rate of 0.03°C for every year from 2000 to 2015, indicative of a larger trend of global warming.

Finland and Spain had their warmest years ever while Argentina had its second warmest year. In the long term, the biggest temperature increases have occurred around the poles, while temperatures around the equator haven’t changed much, according to a report on PBS.org.

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA

A closer look at the map also shows there is no region untouched by warming. “Further affirmation of the reality of the warming is its spatial distribution, which has largest values at locations remote from any local human influence,” a NASA statement said.

Most of the weather stations around the world are in the northern hemisphere, where most of the Earth’s land mass is located. This means we do not really have a good idea of how the southern hemisphere, which is mostly ocean, has heated up. So, global warming could be underestimated, according to a report from realclimate.org, a commentary site on climate science.

El Niño's role

It would be easy to blame human activity and greenhouse gases for the warming, but according to some scientists, while that may not be possible for a single year, it does adequately explain the longer trend.

“[A] specific year [being the warmest]…is not attributable to greenhouse gases per se…but the long-term trend … is attributable,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies in 2015.

A role in warming the world, and parts of India, in 2015 can also be attributed to the complex phenomenon called El Niño, a vast ocean-atmosphere climate interaction in parts of the Pacific Ocean, linked to warmer sea-surface temperatures. IndiaSpend has reported how El Niño in 2015 brought a more intense heatwave in northern India and a weaker monsoon.

The fact that there were record hot years, such as 2014, without an El Nino is seen as further evidence of global warming.

Potential consequences

More flooding in Europe, water shortages in Africa, droughts in Asia and wildfires in North America. These are some of the effects that could result if the Earth’s warming continues, the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, a United Nations agency responsible for investigating the effects of global warming, predicted in a 2014 report.

Countries around the world took their most significant step yet at COP21, the Paris climate change conference in December. (IndiaSpend has reported on India’s position at the summit here.) Agreeing to keep the rise in global temperatures in 2030 to under 2°C from pre-industrial times, while striving for a 1.5 °C rise, will go a long way, but, to borrow a proverb, the proof will be in the pudding.

This article was first published on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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Harvard Business School’s HBX brings the future of business education to India with online programs

HBX is not only offering courses online, but also connecting students to the power of its network.

The classic design of the physical Harvard Business School (HBS) classroom was once a big innovation – precisely designed teaching amphitheaters laid out for every student to participate from his or her seat with a “pit” in the center of the room from which professors orchestrate discussions analyzing business cases like a symphony lead. When it came to designing the online experience of HBX—the school’s digital learning initiative—HBS faculty worked tirelessly to blend these tenets of the HBS classroom pedagogy with the power of new technology. With real-world problem solving, active learning, and social learning as its foundation, HBX offers immersive and challenging self-paced learning experiences through its interactive online learning platform.

Reimagining digital education, breaking the virtual learning mold

Typically, online courses follow a one-way broadcast mode – lectures are video recorded and reading material is shared – and students learn alone and are individually tested. Moving away from the passive learning model, HBX has developed an online platform that leverages the HBS ‘case-based pedagogy’ and audio-visual and interaction tools to make learning engaging.

HBX courses are rarely taught through theory. Instead, students learn through real-world problem-solving. Students start by grappling with a business problem – with real world data and the complexity in which a business leader would have to make a decision – and learn the theory inductively. Thus even as mathematical theories are applied to business situations, students come away with a greater sense of clarity and perspective, whether it is reading a financial report, understanding why a brand’s approach to a random sample population study may or may not work, or how pricing works.

HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program
HBX Platform | Courses offered in the HBX CORe program

“Learning about concepts through real-life cases was my favorite part of the program. The cases really helped transform abstract concepts into observable situations one could learn from. Furthermore, it really helped me understand how to identify situations in which I could use the tools that HBX equipped me with,” says Anindita Ravikumar, a past HBX participant. India’s premier B-school IIM-Ahmedabad has borrowed the very same pedagogy from Harvard. Learning in this manner is far more engaging, relatable, and memorable.

Most lessons start with a short 2-3 minute video of a manager talking about the business problem at hand. Students are then asked to respond on how they would handle the issue. Questions can be in the form of either a poll or reflections. Everyone’s answers are then visible to the ‘classroom’. In the words of Professor Bharat Anand, Faculty Chair, HBX, “This turns out to be a really important distinction. The answers are being updated in real-time. You can see the distribution of answers, but you can also see what any other individual has answered, which means that you’re not anonymous.” Students have real profiles and get to know their ‘classmates’ and learn from each other.

HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort
HBX Interface | Students can view profiles of other students in their cohort

Professor Anand also says, “We have what we call the three-minute rule. Roughly every three minutes, you are doing something different on the platform. Everyone is on the edge of their seats. Anyone could be called on to participate at any time. It’s a very lean forward mode of learning”. Students get ‘cold-called’ – a concept borrowed from the classroom – where every now and then individuals will be unexpectedly prompted to answer a question on the platform and their response will be shared with other members of the cohort. It keeps students engaged and encourages preparedness. While HBX courses are self-paced, participants are encouraged to get through a certain amount of content each week, which helps keep the cohort together and enables the social elements of the learning experience.

More than digital learning

The HBS campus experience is valued by alumni not just for the academic experience but also for the diverse network of peers they meet. HBX programs similarly encourage student interactions and opportunities for in-person networking. All HBXers who successfully complete their programs and are awarded a credential or certificate from HBX and Harvard Business School are invited to the annual on-campus HBX ConneXt event to meet peers from around the world, hear from faculty and business executives, and also experience the HBS campus near Cambridge.

HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand
HBXers at ConneXt, with Prof. Bharat Anand

Programs offered today

HBX offers a range of programs that appeal to different audiences.

To help college students and recent graduates prepare for the business world, HBX CORe (Credential of Readiness) integrates business essentials such as analytics, economics, and financial accounting. HBX CORe is also great for those interested in an MBA looking to strengthen their application and brush up their skills to be prepared for day one. For working professionals, HBX CORe and additional courses like Disruptive Strategy, Leading with Finance, and Negotiation Mastery, can help deepen understanding of essential business concepts in order to add value to their organizations and advance their careers.

Course durations range from 6 to 17 weeks depending on the program. All interested candidates must submit a free, 10-15 minute application that is reviewed by the HBX admissions team by the deadlines noted on the HBX website.

For more information, please review the HBX website.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of HBX and not by the Scroll editorial team.