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N India, Himalayas to be worst hit by climate change: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 20:36

New Delhi: Northern parts of the country and the Himalayan region will be the worst hit by climate change in India and warming will be greater over land than sea, according to a latest report.
"In the 2020s, the projected warming is of the order of 0.5-1.5 degree Celsius , by the 2050s, 3 degree celsius and by the 2080s, around 4 degree Celsius. Warming will be greater over land than sea and it is projected over northern parts of the Indian landmass and over the Himalayas," says a joint India-UK report on potential impact of climate change and adaptation in India which was launched here today.

The UK`s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests worked together on a DECC-funded project to understand better the potential impacts of climate change in India and provide adaptation response options in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

According to the report, the amount of rainfall from Indian monsoons is expected to be between 8.9-18.6 per cent higher than current levels by 2080. Wind speeds associated with monsoons may also increase by up to 23 per cent by 2050.

"Frequency of monsoons is not expected to change much, but they may shift south of their normal location," it said.

Rainfall outside of monsoon season is expected to increase by between 11.5 - 23.4 per cent above current levels, averaged across India, the report said.

According to it, populations of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa are vulnerable to climate change, particularly as both have high dependency on agriculture for livelihoods.

"By the 2080s, there is a projected increase of monsoon rainfall of up to 28 per cent over Madhya Pradesh and up to 23 per cent over Orissa. The projected temperature increases are 4.3°C over Madhya Pradesh and 4.2°C over Orissa," it said.

An increase in drought events is projected by mid-century, but with fewer droughts towards the end of the century, the report said.

As rainfall events become heavier, flooding across both Madhya Pradesh and Orissa is expected to become more frequent by the end of the century, the report said.

Local changes in temperature and rainfall are expected to have significant impacts on crop production.

In Madhya Pradesh, wheat, irrigated rice and soy crop yields are all projected to decrease by the end of the century by 18, 3 and 25 per cent respectively, largely due to temperature increases.

In the same area, rain-fed rice yields are expected to increase by around 16 per cent, as increased rainfall means water is no longer a limiting factor in their growth, the report added.

According to a British High Commission release, the work looks at national level socio-economic impacts of climate change on extreme weather events, water resources and agriculture.

"In the highly vulnerable state of Orissa, it focuses on cyclones and flooding. In Madhya Pradesh it focuses on the interaction between water resources and agriculture," it said.

In a letter to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, British Minister for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker said, "It is vital that all nations build an understanding of the risks that climate change poses to them. This report will help us all enhance our resilience and adapt to those impacts which cannot be avoided."


First Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 20:36

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