Effects of global warming on South Asia
The effects of global warming on South Asia include steady sea level rise, increased cyclonic activity, and changes in ambient temperature and precipitation patterns. Increased landslides and flooding are projected to have an impact upon states such as Assam. Ongoing sea level rises have already submerged several low-lying islands in the Sundarbans, displacing thousands of people. The first among the countries to be affected by severe climate change is Bangladesh. Its sea level, temperature and evaporation are increasing, and the changes in precipitation and cross boundary river flows are already beginning to cause drainage congestion. There is a reduction in fresh water availability, disturbance of morphological processes and a higher intensity of flooding. Regarding local temperature rises, the IPCC figure projected for the mean annual increase in temperature by the end of the century in South Asia is 3.3 °C with the min-max range as 2.7 – 4.7 °C. The mean value for Tibet would be higher with mean increase of 3.8 °C and min-max figures of 2.6 and 6.1 °C respectively which implies harsher warming conditions for the Himalayan watersheds. India's GDP could decline by up to 9%, due to shifting growing seasons for major crops such as rice, production of which could fall by 40%. Around seven million people are projected to be displaced due to, among other factors, submersion of parts of Mumbai and Chennai, if global temperatures were to rise by a mere 2 °C (3.6 °F)
As per the IPCC, depending upon the scenario visualised, the projected global average surface warming will result in temperature increases worldwide at the end of the 21st Century relative to the end of the 20th Century ranges from 0.6 to 4 °C.
Regarding local temperature rises, the IPCC figure projected for the mean annual increase in temperature by the end of the century in South Asia is 3.3 °C with the min-max range as 2.7 – 4.7 °C. The mean value for Tibet would be higher with mean increase of 3.8 °C and min-max figures of 2.6 and 6.1 °C respectively which implies harsher warming conditions for the Himalayan watersheds.
Rise in sea level
The More recent analysis of a number of semi empirical models predict a sea level rise of about 1 metre by the year 2100. Ongoing sea level rises have already submerged several low-lying islands in the Sundarbans, displacing thousands of people. Temperature rises on the Tibetan Plateau, which are causing Himalayan glaciers to retreat. It has been predicted that the historical city of Thatta and Badin, in Sindh, Pakistan would have been swallowed by the sea by 2025, as the sea is already encroaching 80 acres of land here, every day..
In October 2019 a study was published in the journal Nature Communications, saying that the number of people who will be impacted from sea level rise during 21 century is 3 times higher that was previously thought. By the year 2050, 150 million will be under the water line during high tide and 300 million will live in zones with floodings every year. By the year 2100, those numbers differ sharply depending on the emission scenario. In a low emission scenario, 140 million will be under water during high tide and 280 million will have flooding each year. In high emission scenario, the numbers arrive to 540 million and 640 million respectively. 70% of these people will live in 8 countries in Asia: China, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines. Large parts of Ho Chi Minh City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Bangkok and Basra can be inundated.
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Observed changes in the natural and human environment
Increased landslides and flooding are projected to have an impact upon states such as Assam. Ecological disasters, such as a 1998 coral bleaching event that killed off more than 70% of corals in the reef ecosystems off Lakshadweep and the Andamans, and was brought on by elevated ocean temperatures tied to global warming, are also projected to become increasingly common.
The first among the countries to be affected by severe climate change is Bangladesh. Its sea level, temperature and evaporation are increasing, and the changes in precipitation and cross boundary river flows are already beginning to cause drainage congestion. There is a reduction in fresh water availability, disturbance of morphologic processes and a higher intensity of flooding and other such disasters. Bangladesh only contributes 0.1% of the world's emissions yet it has 2.4% of the world's population. In contrast, the United States makes up about 5 percent of the world's population, yet they produce approximately 25 percent of the pollution that causes global warming.
Heat waves' frequency and power are increasing in India because of climate change. In 2019, the temperature reached 50.6 degrees Celsius, 36 people were killed. 15 monkeys died from heat stroke after another group of monkeys prevented them from accessing the closest water source. The high temperatures are expected to impact 23 states in 2019, up from nine in 2015 and 19 in 2018. The number of heat wave days has increased — not just day temperature, night temperatures increased also. 2018 was the country's sixth hottest year on record, and 11 of its 15 warmest years have occurred since 2004. The capital of New Delhi broke its all-time record with a high of 48 degrees Celsius.
"Science as well as our subjective experiences has made it unequivocally clear that longer, hotter and deadlier summers are poised to become the norm due to climate change," environmental researcher Hem Dholakia wrote"
Today, because of global warming, the world is one degree Celsius warmer than it was before the industrial revolution. According to author Wallace-Wells, if the temperature rises even one more degree, “Cities now home to millions, across India and the Middle East, would become so hot that stepping outside in summer would be a lethal risk.” In India, exposure to heat waves is said to increase by 8 times between 2021 and 2050, and by 300% by the end of this century. (See article: “Heat wave exposure in India in current, 1.5 °C, and 2.0 °C worlds,” in the journal Environmental Research Letters). The number of Indians exposed to heat waves increased by 200% from 2010 to 2016. Heat waves also affect farm labour productivity. The heat waves affect central and northwestern India the most, and the eastern coast and Telangana have also been affected. In 2015, the latter places witnessed at least 2500 deaths. For the first time in history, Kerala reported a heat wave in 2016. The government is being advised by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in predicting and mitigating heat waves. The government of Andhra Pradesh, for instance, is creating a Heat Wave Action Plan.
The heat wave has closed schools and universities.
Overall, however, the death toll from India's heat waves has decreased in the last four years. More than 2,000 people died in 2015, 375 in 2017 and 20 in 2018. "Officials say this is because the government has made an effort to reduce the death toll by encouraging residents to reduce or alter the time spent working on hot days and by providing free drinking water to hard-hit populations". It also used water to cool streets and forced police to guard water tankers in Madhya Pradesh state after fights over supply turned deadly. Those measures cost a lot of money and water, and the government's resources was limited this year by the country's national election. The heat wave may continue, as monsoon rains have been delayed this year.
India has the world's highest social cost of carbon. The Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research has reported that, if the predictions relating to global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change come to fruition, climate-related factors could cause India's GDP to decline by up to 9%; contributing to this would be shifting growing seasons for major crops such as rice, production of which could fall by 40%. Around seven million people are projected to be displaced due to, among other factors, submersion of parts of Mumbai and Chennai, if global temperatures were to rise by a mere 2 °C (3.6 °F).
Villagers in India's North Eastern state of Meghalaya are also concerned that rising sea levels will submerge neighbouring low-lying Bangladesh, resulting in an influx of refugees into Meghalaya—which has few resources to handle such a situation.
If severe climate changes occur, Bangladesh will lose land along the coast line. This will be highly damaging to Bangladeshis especially because nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product. If no further steps are taken to improve the current conditions global warming will affect the economy severely worsening the present issues further.. The climate change would increase expenditure towards health care, cool drinks, alcoholic beverages, air conditioners, ice cream, cosmetics, agricultural chemicals, and other products.
Climate Change in India and Pakistan will have a disproportionate impact on the more than 400 million that make up India's poor. This is because so many depend on natural resources for their food, shelter and income. More than 56% of people in India work in agriculture, while in Pakistan 43℅ of its population work in agriculture while many others earn their living in coastal areas.
Thick haze and smoke, originating from burning biomass in northeastern India and air pollution from large industrial cities in northern India, often concentrate inside the Ganges Basin. Prevailing westerlies carry aerosols along the southern margins of the steep-faced Tibetan Plateau to eastern India and the Bay of Bengal. Dust and black carbon, which are blown towards higher altitudes by winds at the southern faces of the Himalayas, can absorb shortwave radiation and heat the air over the Tibetan Plateau. The net atmospheric heating due to aerosol absorption causes the air to warm and convect upwards, increasing the concentration of moisture in the mid-troposphere and providing positive feedback that stimulates further heating of aerosols. Pollution of mercury in India is shocking. The environment is being packed with approximately 70 tonnes of mercury per year by existing mercury-cell plants. One gram of mercury is sufficient to pollute a lake of surface area of around 20 acres that would harm the fish which as a result would be dangerous to consume.
Indian and Pakistani media can contribute to increased awareness of climate change and related issues. A qualitative analysis of some mainstream Indian newspapers (particularly opinion and editorial pieces) during the release of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and during the Nobel Peace Prize win by Al Gore and the IPCC found that Indian media strongly pursue the frame of scientific certainty in their coverage of climate change. This is in contrast to the scepticism displayed by American newspapers at the time. Alongside, Indian media highlight frames of energy challenge, social progress, public accountability and looming disaster. This sort of coverage finds parallels in European media narratives as well and helps build a transnational, globalised discourse on climate change. Another study has found that the media in India are divided along the lines of a north-south, risk-responsibility discourse. However, much more research is required to analyse Indian media's role in shaping public perceptions on climate change.
Tribal people in India's remote northeast plan to honour former U.S. Vice President Al Gore with an award for promoting awareness on climate change that they say will have a devastating impact on their homeland.
Meghalaya- meaning 'Abode of the Clouds' in Hindi—is home to the towns of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, which are credited with being the wettest places in the world due to their high rainfall. But scientists state that global climate change is causing these areas to experience an increasingly sparse and erratic rainfall pattern and a lengthened dry season, affecting the livelihoods of thousands of villagers who cultivate paddy and maize. Some areas are also facing water shortages.
People are becoming aware of ills of global warming. Taking initiative on their own people from Sangamner, Maharashtra (near Shirdi) have started a campaign of planting trees known as Dandakaranya- The Green Movement. It was started by visionary & ace freedom fighter the late Shri Bhausaheb Thorat in the year 2005. To date, they have sowed more than 12 million seeds & planted half a million plants.
There are many concrete steps which can be taken to address the threat of climate change. Incentives can be provided for electric vehicles or public transport and this curb the impact of the transportation sector. However, though these suggestions have been made, there is no political will to carry them out. Households can be given electricity and slowly phasing out LPG (the current trend is to increase the usage of the latter). Rainwater can be harvested and the rivers could be restored to their original flow so that they can bring back the wetlands and the natural ways of silt, nutrient and wildlife flow. All of these use technologies and can be implemented by the 11-year period the IPCC has stipulated before which any change must be made if we are to evade the adverse effects of climate change. So far, though the initiatives by the Delhi Metro to switch to solar power- or similar efforts by the Kochi airport-are a step in the right direction, such moves are few and far between. These models should be taken up by other agents as well.
The latest accord, the 2015 Paris Agreement, takes a different approach. The 197 signatory countries have promised to limit global temperature increase to just 1.5 °C over pre-industrialization levels, but each country has set its own targets. India, for instance, has promised to cut its emissions intensity (emissions per unit of GDP) by 33-35% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels (Chart 1a/ 1b).
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- "Weather Resource System for India". National Informatics Centre. Archived from the original on 2007-04-29.