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'Global warming might change rain pattern'

Kolkata, Mumbai most vulnerable due to sea level rise, says World Bank

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Water splashes image via Shutterstock

At a time when unprecedented rain has resulted in havoc in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, the World Bank today came out with a report which states that another 2 to 4 degree celsius in the world average temperature may impact India’s rain pattern.

This could leave some areas under water, others would struggle for enough water, it said.

The report notifies Kolkata and Mumbai as the “hotspots” with threats of extreme floods, intense tropical cyclones, rising sea levels and high temperature. The report also suggests that an extreme wet monsoon that currently has a chance of occurring only once in 100 years in India is projected to occur every 10 years by the end of this century.

The report, “Turn down the heat: Climate extremes, regional impacts and case of resilience”, looked into the likely impact of a 2 to 4 degree Celsius warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. It states that by 2040, India would see a significant reduction in crop yields because of extreme heat.

“Governments should look at developing more climate-smart agricultural practices and should improve energy efficiency and focus more on renewable energy,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director in India.

The report adds that the scenario would be worse unless action is taken to limit carbon emissions, as South Asia is likely to suffer the most through extreme droughts, floods, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and decline in food production. The reports also calls for flood defenses, cultivation of drought and heat resistant crops, improved ground water management and better coastal infrastructure in order to reduce the impact.

Due to its proximity to equator, the sub-continent would see higher rise in sea levels than higher latitudes, with the Maldives confronting the biggest increase between 100-115 centimeters, the report points out.

With 2 degree Celsius warming by the 2040, crop production in South Asia may reduce by at least 12%, requiring more than twice the imports to meet per capita demand than it is required without climate change. Decreasing flood availability may also lead to significant health problems, including child stunting, which is projected to increase by 35% by 2050, compared to a scenario without climate change, the report adds.

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First Published: Thu, June 20 2013. 00:41 IST