Heatwaves, floods and cyclones: Here’s what India’s first climate change assessment report says

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has come out with India’s first Climate Change Assessment Report.

The report titled “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region” will be released by Minister of Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan on 19th June 2020.

The 242 pages report says that in the 29 years from 1986 to 2015, India has recorded several weather extremes such as an increase in warm days and nights and a rise in extremely severe cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea that were a result of human-caused climate change.

Rapid changes in India’s climate will put stress on ecosystems, agricultural output, and freshwater resources, and also cause damage to infrastructure, the report said.

Here are some highlights of the report:

1.India’s average temperature has risen by around 0.7°C during 1901–2018. By 2100, the average temperature in India is projected to rise by 4.4°C as compared to that between 1976 and 2005.

2. The frequency of summer (April–June) heat waves over India is projected to be 3 to 4 times higher by the end of the twenty-first century.

3. There is a spike in flood risk over the east coast, West Bengal, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and the Konkan region as well as in urban areas including Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

4. At the end of the twenty-first century, steric sea level in the NIO is projected to rise by approximately 300 millimetres relative to the average over 1986–2005.

5. The summer monsoon precipitation (June to September) over India has also declined by around 6 per cent from 1951 to 2015, with notable decreases over the Indo-Gangetic Plains and the Western Ghats.

6. The number of warm days have increased by about 9.9 per decade and warm nights by 7.7 per decade. Cold nights have decreased by 3.3 per decade during this period. Warm days or nights are those when maximum and minimum temperatures are over the 90th percentile.

7. Climate change has already skewed the monsoon patterns with rains decreasing by 6% between 1951 and 2015. The Indo-Gangetic Plains and the Western Ghats have recorded the highest declines, but the frequency of extreme rainfall (over 150 mm) has increased by 75% between 1950 and 2015 in central India.

8. The frequency of extremely severe cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea rose during the post-monsoon seasons from 1998 to 2018.

9. There has been a rise in the frequency of droughts and floods in the past few decades. The humid regions of Central India have become drought-prone.

“It’s a first for India. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change produces such reports for global impact assessment. This national report can help policymakers in different sectors especially health and agriculture. We plan to do this review every four to five years,” Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary, the ministry of earth sciences told media.

Lmb Staff