Impacts of climate change in India
Keeping pace with the growing population, rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in India, the Climate Change could stress an additional pressure on its overall ecology and socio-economic system. Increasing global warming has caused various climate-related disasters thereby adversely affecting agriculture, health, food security, water resources, and biodiversity as a whole.
According to the 3rd Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is found that the average surface temperature of earth has increased by 0.6+0.2o C over the twentieth century. The sea level rise has also been estimated at a rate of 1 to 2 mm annually during the last century. It further forecasts that globally averaged surface temperature would rise by 1.4 to 5.8o C and the global mean sea level may rise by 0.09 to 0.88 m during 1990.2100.
Extreme temperature, heat spells have already been common in north and eastern part of the country. Climate change has had also a greater impact on agricultural production in terms of ill-timed monsoon, which is primary source of water for agriculture, drinking water and also crucial for its rich biodiversity. Frequent weather pattern change has already noticed every year.
Fluctuation in monsoon rain and subsequent policy change towards agriculture has major impact on agricultural productivity and shifting crop pattern. Further the policy implication are extensive it can affect food security, employment opportunity, water conservation, trade and economy and livelihood of population at large.
India signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on June 10, 1992 and came into force on March 21st, 1994. Though it is not legally binding to nations but the treaty aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere to a level so that it would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system within a time frame sufficient to allow the ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
Salient features on various sectors are as under:
(i) Impacts of climate change on water resources - It is projected that quantity of surface run off due to climate change would vary across the river basis as well as sub-basins of major rivers. However, there is a general reduction in the quantity of the available run off.
(ii) Impacts of Climate change on Agriculture in India - Variable impacts of climate change on agriculture have been projected. A mixed projection of yields of various crops across regions. No definite trends have yet been established.
(iii) Impacts of climate change on forestry and natural ecosystem - Forests are projected to be vulnerable and biodiversity is also likely to be adversely impacted due to this.
(iv) Impacts of climate change on human health - Increase in vector borne diseases such as Malaria in areas not reported earlier.
(v) Impacts of climate change of infrastructure - Large infrastructure such as dams, roads, bridges incurring high costs of constructions are vulnerable to extreme events like cyclones, heavy rains, land slides and floods, which may increase in the later half of the century due to climate change.
(vi) Impacts of climate change on coastal zones in India - To holistic data of sea level reveals a high variability along the Indian Coastline with an increase along Gulf of Kutchh and West Bengal coastline and decrease along Karnataka coast.
The observation indicates a long term average rising trend of 1mm/year in sea level and a projection of rise in sea level in the range of 46-59 cm by the end of twenty first century.
Note: The information given was based on a government press release in PIB dated May 09, 2008.
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