Tuesday April 7, 2020
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Climate change: Get ready for hotter, drier, wetter future

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Image source: blog.aarp.org

New Delhi: Climate change is happening, with strong evidence that the Earth is already one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century. The past four years have been the hottest on record. All this is a foretaste of a hotter, drier and wetter future, says an international researcher.

He said climate change will continue to happen as more heat-trapping greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants accumulate in the atmosphere.

“While mitigation is necessary to control climate change, adaptation is essential to face the hotter, drier, wetter future,” Kathmandu-based ICIMOD’s programme manager Arun B Shrestha told reporters.

At the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris last year, the governments agreed to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees”.

Shrestha said these commitments are highly ambitious but the plans developed so far cannot avoid a rise of three degrees Celsius.

UN weather agency the World Meteorological Organization said in terms of global averages, each of the past several decades has been significantly warmer than the previous one.

The period 2011-2015 was the hottest on record and 2015, because of a powerful El Nino phenomenon, was the hottest since modern observations began in the late 1800s.

Along with the rising temperatures, climate change is disrupting the seasons and increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as droughts and heavy rainfall.

And when it comes to the mountains, the indications are that changes will manifest in much stronger ways.

The Mountain Research Initiative, a scientific organisation that addresses global change issues in mountain regions around the world, warns that warming will be much stronger in high elevation areas, such as the Hindu Kush Himalayas, where the impact will be compounded by biophysical fragility and socio-economic vulnerability.

Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), along with its partners, has been conducting scientific research on climate change to support policy and action to reduce climate impacts and vulnerabilities.

According to a climate and water atlas, “Mapping an uncertain future: Atlas of climate change and water in five crucial water basins in the Hindu Kush Himalayas”, the mountain range extending west of the Himalayas are warming significantly faster than the global average.

The atlas, published last year by ICIMOD, and two Norwegian entities – GRID-Arendal and the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) – said the temperatures across the Hindu Kush will increase by about one to two degrees Celsius, in some places by four to five degrees, by 2050.

The atlas also warns that precipitation will change, with that in summer increasing in most parts of the region. The number of rainfall events is expected to decrease, but with more water falling during each event, causing both floods and droughts.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is home to 210 million people and provides water to over 1.3 billion people – more than the entire continent of Europe.

To counter mitigations of climate change, Shrestha, who is ICIMOD’s programme manager for the river basins and cryosphere and atmosphere regional programmes, said adopting climate-smart villages models, along with flexible and integrate farming with weather information is the right approach.

At the catchment scale, he said, community-based flood early warning systems like the one implemented in Assam by ICIMOD and its partners have increased the resilience of the people.

In addition to floods, droughts also need to be addressed through integrated drought management, the researcher added. (Vishal Gulati, IANS)

  • Shriya Katoch

    Climate change is the issue of the hour and it requires the world’s attention ,as it affects all

Next Story

Ice Loss in Antarctica and Greenland Increasing at an Alarming Rate: Scientists

Greenland, Antarctica ice loss accelerating

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Earth's great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, were now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s due to warming conditions. Pixabay

Earth’s great ice sheets, Greenland and Antarctica, were now losing mass six times faster than they were in the 1990s due to warming conditions, the media reported on Thursday citing scientists as saying.

A comprehensive review of satellite data acquired at both poles was unequivocal in its assessment of accelerating trends, the BBC quoted the scientists as saying.

Between them, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice in the period from 1992 to 2017.

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The combined rate of ice loss for Greenland and Antarctica was running at about 81 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s. Pixabay

This was sufficient to push up global sea-levels up by 17.8 mm, the scientists added. “That’s not a good news story,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds.

“Today, the ice sheets contribute about a third of all sea-level rise, whereas in the 1990s, their contribution was actually pretty small at about 5 per cent. This has important implications for the future, for coastal flooding and erosion,” he told BBC News.

The researcher co-leads a project called the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise, or Imbie, which is a team of experts who have reviewed polar measurements acquired by observational spacecraft over nearly three decades.

The Imbie team’s studies have revealed that ice losses from Antarctica and Greenland were actually heading to much more pessimistic outcomes, and will likely add another 17 cm to those end-of-century forecasts.

“If that holds true it would put 400 million people at risk of annual coastal flooding by 2100,” Professor Shepherd told the BBC.

Also Read- People of All Generation Can Feel Lonely for Different Reasons: Research

The combined rate of loss for Greenland and Antarctica was running at about 81 billion tonnes per year in the 1990s.

By the 2010s, it had climbed to 475 billion tonnes per year. (IANS)