Global Warming Will Make Monsoon Unpredictable: Report

New Delhi
Global Warming Will Make Monsoon Unpredictable: Report

India's summer monsoon will become highly unpredictable if the world's average temperature rises by two degree Celsius in the next two-three decades, a scientific report commissioned by the World Bank says.

The report released here today evaluates at the likely impacts of warming between two degree Celsius and four degree Celsius on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

Coastal cities like Kolkata and Mumbai are "potential impact hotspots" threatened by extreme river floods, more intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and very high temperatures, the report 'Turn down the heat: Climate extremes, regional impacts and the case for resilience' says.

Depicting life in a not-too-distant future shaped by already present warming trends, the new report warns that by the 2040s, India will see a significant reduction in crop yields because of extreme heat.

It says shifting rain patterns will leave some areas under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation or, in some cases, for even drinking.

"An extreme wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of the century," the report says.

The warming will impact significant reduction in crop yields and some 63 million people may no longer be able to meet their caloric demand. Decreasing food availability can also lead to significant health problems, it warns.

The report also predicts substantial reduction in the flow of the Indus and the Brahmaputra in late spring and summer.

In the next 20 years, a several-fold increase in the frequency of unusually hot and extreme summer months is projected. 

It is estimated that by the 2050s, with a temperature increase of 2 degree Celsius-2.5 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, water for agricultural production in the river basins of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra will reduce further and may impact food adequacy for some 63 million people.

The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and peer reviewed by 25 scientists worldwide, says the consequences for South Asia of a warming climate are even worse if global temperatures increased by an average of four degree Celsius by 2090.

In this scenario, seen as likely unless action is taken now to limit carbon emissions, South Asia would suffer more extreme droughts and floods, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and declines in food production.

Many of the worst climate impacts could still be avoided by holding warming below two degree Celsius, but the window for action is narrowing rapidly, the report says.

Urgent action is needed to build resilience through climate-smart agriculture, flood defenses, drought and heat resistant crops, improved ground water management, better coastal infrastructure, and human health, it says.

"The future that scientists have envisioned in this report reinforces the fact that climate change hits the poor the hardest and that it could roll back decades of development gains in India."

"In order to minimise the impacts of a changing climate, we need to ensure that our cities become climate resilient, that we develop climate-smart agriculture practices, and find innovative ways to improve both energy efficiency and the performance of renewable energies," Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director in India, says in the report.

Next Story : Delhi Govt Was Informed of Afzal's Hanging: MHA
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store