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Current Affairs

Disaster projections for India

Date: 24 July 2020 Tags: Disaster & Disaster Management

Issue

The first ‘Assessment of Climate Change over Indian Region’, released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences recently, warns of tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, heat waves, floods, and droughts in India unless mitigation measures are adopted soon.

 

Details

Temperature

  • Surface air temperature over India has risen by 0.6°C per year during 1901-2018.

  • Regions of North India have undergone warming more than the South, where warming has been mainly during winters.

  • The frequency of warm days is projected to increase by 55% and that of warm nights by 70%, both relative to 1976- 2005.

  • By the end of the 21st century, the average temperature over India is projected to rise by 4.4°C, relative to the average temperature during 1976-2005.

  • Sea surface temperatures on the tropical Indian Ocean have been rising by an average of 1°C annually over 1951-2015.

 

Monsoon

  • During 1951-2015, annual rainfall over India showed a declining trend. The reduction ranged between 1-5 mm over central India, Kerala, and the far Northeast regions.

  • The coming decades are projected to witness a considerable rise in the mean, extreme, and inter-annual variability of rainfall associated with the monsoon.

 

Droughts and floods

  • Since the 1950s, the frequency and intensity of both heavy rainfall events and dry days have gone up. These trends are prominent over Central India and South Peninsular regions during the southwest monsoon

  • Flood risks are higher over the east coast, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Konkan, and cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

  • The Himalayan flood basins are projected to greater floods, due to the faster glacial and snow melting. Major flooding events are projected over the Brahmaputra, Ganga, and Indus.

 

Sea level

  • During 1993-2015, the sea level over the North Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal) rose by 3.3 mm per year, which is in tune with the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) rise.

  • In an extreme climate scenario projected by the report, a risk of inundation looms over Andhra Pradesh and Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta basins.

 

Tropical cyclones

Storms in the Arabian Sea are gaining more strength and the trend is projected to continue. The number of extremely severe cyclonic storms formed in the Arabian Sea has increased in the last 20 years.

 

Himalaya snow cover

The Karakoram Himalayas have reported an increase in snowfall during winter.

By the end of the century, the Hindukush Himalayas is projected to be warmer by 2.6-4.6°C.

 

Effects

  • A higher concentration of water vapour, in turn, leads to intense rainfall during monsoon.

  • Heating leads to vaporisation, which is directly linked to decreasing soil moisture, resulting in droughts. This can lead to a reduction in food production and in the availability of potable water.

  • Rising sea levels would make India’s big cities vulnerable to erosion and damage to coastal projects.