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Climate change causing reduced crop yields in India, heatwaves globally: UN

The WMO's annual State of the Global Climate report, which tracks climate indicators and impacts, cited a record high for ocean heat content in 2022

Climate Change


BS Web Team New Delhi

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Climate change continued to wreak havoc in 2022, breaking multiple records around the globe, according to the State of the Global Climate 2022 report, released by United Nation's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on Friday.

The report cautioned that weather- and climate-related phenomena present a variety of humanitarian concerns with implications for ecosystems and the environment.

Despite the La Nina conditions, the worldwide mean temperature in 2022 was 1.15 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial (1850–1900) average, making it the "fifth or sixth" warmest year on record, highlighted the report. 

The report also said that the increased incidences of droughts, floods, and heatwaves on a global scale are the result of record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. A total of 15,700 people were killed in 2022 in Europe due to heatwaves, WMO said in the report.

In India, the monsoon arrived earlier than usual in 2022 and left the country later than usual. Additionally, it was warm in Pakistan and India before to the monsoon.

In particular in Uttarakhand, a mountain state, the excessive heat has reportedly resulted in a number of forest fires and low grain yields.

WMO highlighted that real-time data from specific locations shows that levels of the three greenhouse gases- carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide—continued to increase in 2022. 

Every community was affected by droughts, floods, and heatwaves on every continent and nation, including India, and they cost many billions of dollars, the report said. 

"Heatwaves in the 2022 pre-monsoon season in India and Pakistan caused a decline in crop yields. This, combined with the banning of wheat exports and restrictions on rice exports in India after the start of the conflict in Ukraine, has threatened the availability, access to and stability of staple foods within international food markets and posed high risks to countries already affected by shortages of staple foods," the WMO report said.

In India, there was significant flooding at various stages during the monsoon season, especially in the northeast in June 2022, with over 700 reported deaths during the season from flooding and landslides.

"While greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

"For example, in 2022, continuous drought in East Africa, record breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heatwaves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage," Taalas added.


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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 9:55 PM IST

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