The report “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” shows temperatures of the warmest day and the coldest night of the year have risen by about 0.63°C and 0.4°C in the recent 30-year period (1986-2015) and these temperatures are projected to rise approximately by 4.7°C and 5.5°C, respectively, by the end of the century in business as usual (BAU) conditions.
BAU conditions refer to a scenario where either no action is taken or very little is done to reduce emission of greenhouse gases that have resulted in global warming and consequent climate change.
Though the report, to be released by earth sciences minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday, doesn’t carry state or city-specific projections, its analysis refers to various studies that spell out how cities like Mumbai and Kolkata faced floods in the recent past due to “climate shifts, urbanisation, sea-level rise and other regional factors”. Projections in the report are more regional — Indo-Gangetic plains, Western Ghats, coastal areas along North Indian Ocean and east and west Himalayas — with an analysis of past extreme weather events and triggering factors.
Noting that India has witnessed an “increase in the frequency of droughts and floods during the past few decades”, the report says the humid regions of central India have, notably, become drought-prone regions. Referring to past assessment, it also says flood risk has “increased over the east coast, West Bengal, eastern UP, Gujarat and Konkan region, as well as in a majority of urban areas such as Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai”.
The scientific report from the ministry of earth science is edited by scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune. Findings of the report deal exclusively with India and the sub-continent unlike the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is global in nature. The India report documents regional climate change projections based on the IITM Earth System Model and Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment datasets.
“The need for a comprehensive assessment report on climate change was felt for a long time. This is the first ever climate change assessment report for India… This report will be very useful for policymakers, researchers, social scientists, economists, and students,” said M Rajeevan, secretary, MoES, in his foreword.
He said, “For policy makers, it is important to have a clear comprehensive view on the possible future climate change projections.” Underlining various climatic changes in India since the middle of the 20th century, the report says, “There is compelling scientific evidence that human activities have influenced these changes in regional climate. Human-induced climate change is expected to continue apace during the 21st century.”