India Climate Report 2019

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    14th Jan, 2020

Context

Recently, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has released India Climate Report 2019.

About

  • The India climate report 2019 confirms that the extreme weather events have become par for the course in the country.
  • This is what climate scientists have been claiming for more than half a decade.
  • It notes that excessive heat, cold and rainfall killed 1,562 people in 2019.
  • In 2019, the mean temperature was 0.36 above normalwhile the country also recorded excess rainfall during both the southwest and northeast monsoons.
  • Intense dry spells were interspersed with floods in several parts of the country.
  • This is a phenomenon that policymakers will increasingly be called to factor while drawing up projects in areas as diverse as agriculture, urban planning, water resources and disaster management.
  • The IMD report should be seen in conjunction with long-term meteorological trends.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation, for example, reckons that the decade starting 2011 remains on track to be the warmest on record.
  • At the same time, data from the European Centre for Medium Range Forecast shows that the relative humidity in the mid-troposphere in the Subcontinent has increased by about 2% in the past four decades.
  • Such warming has increased the capacity of oceans to form intense cyclonic disturbances.

    Facts

    • India ranks 5th in Global Climate Risk Index released by Environment think tank, Germanwatch.
    • India has also recorded the highest number of fatalities due to climate change and the second highest monetary losses from its impact in 2018.
    • India’s high rank is due to severe rainfalls, followed by heavy flooding and landslide that killed over 1000 people.

Causes of India’s vulnerability to Climate Risk

  • India’s increasing vulnerability is due to severe rainfall, heavy flooding and landslide.
  • The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst of the last 100 years.
  • India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people.
  • India also suffered from extreme heat. While human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damages were quite severe

What needs to be done?

  • Increasing their resilience calls for efficient rainwater storage and use.
  • The changing dynamics of weather also demand cooperation between states that share a river basin.
  • This year, Maharashtra and Karnataka debated over opening the gates of the Almatti dam on the Krishna. By the time the two states agreed over the amount of water to be discharged from the dam, the damage was already done.

Conclusion

It’s clear that dealing with exceptional weather will require interventions at the national, state and local levels. The Statement on Climate of India 2019 drives home the urgency of such interventions. However, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it in 2019 Climate summit (CoP 25) at Madrid recently. The word climate body must wake up in establishing a financial facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives due to climate change.

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