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Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

India may see a temperature rise of 4.4°C by 21st century end

  • According to the first Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region, humid areas of central India have become drought-prone zones and flood risk has risen in the east coast

India will see an estimated temperature rise of about 4.4°C by the end of the twenty-first century. According to the first Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region published by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), the frequency of warm days and nights is projected to rise 55% and 70%, respectively.

The report said India has seen an increase in the frequency of droughts and floods in the past few decades. It said while humid regions of central India have become drought-prone zones, flood risk has risen in the east coast.

“In the recent 30-year period (1986–2015), temperatures of the warmest day and the coldest night of the year have risen by about 0.63°C and 0.4°C, respectively. By the end of the twenty-first century, these temperatures are projected to rise by approximately 4.7°C and 5.5°C, respectively, relative to the corresponding temperatures in the recent past (1976–2005 average)," it said.

The report said the frequency of summer (April–June) heat waves over India is projected to be three-to-four times higher by the end of this century.

“The average duration of heat wave events is also projected to approximately double, but with a substantial spread among models. In response to the combined rise in surface temperature and humidity, amplification of heat stress is expected across India, particularly over the Indo-Gangetic and Indus river basins," the report said.

The study points out that there has been a rise in global sea levels due to ice melting. Projected rise by the end of the century is by approximately 300 mm, relative to the average over 1986–2005, with the corresponding projection for the global mean rise being approximately 180 mm.

“Since the middle of the twentieth century, India has witnessed a rise in average temperature; a decrease in monsoon precipitation; a rise in extreme temperature and rainfall events, droughts, and sea levels; and an increase in the intensity of severe cyclones, alongside other changes in the monsoon system. There is compelling scientific evidence that human activities have influenced these changes in regional climate," the report said.

Human-induced climate change is expected to continue apace during the twenty-first century. "To improve the accuracy of future climate projections, particularly that of regional forecasts, it is essential to develop strategic approaches for improving the knowledge of earth system processes, and to continue enhancing observation systems and climate models," it added.

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