MoES releases first-ever climate change assessment report

MoES releases first-ever climate change assessment report

The world is busy fighting the most immediate enemy of humankind on the earth, that is, the COVID-19 Pandemic. And the novel coronavirus is enjoying the undivided attention and care of the earthlings while the most severe threat to the human lifespan on earth – climatechange – hasagain been moved down the priority list. It has always been predicted that the impact of human-induced climate change will pose the most severe threat to human life on earth in the twenty-first century and beyond. Yet Humans are continuously interfering with nature, and climate change is the most accurate and easiest way to confirm their destructions made. Climate change poses not onlya threat to human health but also the safety and quality of life and economy of the countries and the world. It is going to affect many more areas of life on earth in the future, for sure. Although the Climate Change is a global issue however the changes are not uniform across the planet. Most shockingly, these changes are seen to vary in local ecosystems as well.

 Climate’s warmer state and increasing global temperatures are evidently and directly linked to the continuous emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, all other kinds of aerosols to the atmosphere, air pollution and the local changes in the land-use patterns. Although, the warming is observed in the long run but is observable everywhere from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. The most common culprit in the scene is evidently the greenhouse gases as their emissions from human activities have been affecting earth’s climate for decades and even centuries and same will go on for many more centuries to come if not properly checked or counteracted. Hence, the severity of future climate change impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.

The impact of Climate Change for India could be hazardous in terms of its dependence on agriculture and other allied activities. Along with that, with the varied climate zones with diversified urban and rural areas across the country coupled with the impact of the local factors could render it quite complex to predict. However, for policymakers, it is vital to have a clear, comprehensive view on the possible future climate change projections. Climate models, similar to the pandemic prediction models, are often used to project how our world will change under specific parameters judges and taken into considerations concerning the future scenarios. Climate models have proven remarkably accurate in simulating the climate change we have experienced to date. Global climate models project a continuation of human-induced climate change during the twenty-first century and beyond. Climate change projections however also come with a variety of a large number of uncertainties, as is with any other prediction models. The most significant difficulty in climate change projections is the level of greenhouse gas emissions in future. The world might get smarter and vigilant to the climate’s calls and respond well in time before the doomsday arrives. However, considering the present scenario, expectations literally ‘tends to zero.’

 Yet in the hopes of the world and the country responding to the clarions’ call, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India has launched/ put forward its first-ever climate change assessment report for India. The need for a comprehensive assessment report on climate change was felt for a long time by the government and other agencies. The report consists of 12 chapters describing the observed changes and future projections of precipitation, temperature, monsoon, drought, sea level, tropical cyclones, and extreme weather events, etc. The report by MoES is the first attempt to document climate changes in different parts of India. This report will be beneficial for policymakers, researchers, social scientists, economists, and students across the country to back on. The material included in the regional climate change assessment report will benefit students, researchers, scientists and policymakers, and help in advancing public awareness of India’s changing climate, and to inform adaptation and mitigation strategies.

 This assessment report aims to describe the physical science basis of regional climate change over the Indian subcontinent and adjoining areas. The first chapter briefly introduces global climate change, sets the regional context, and synthesizes the key points from the subsequent sections. Apart from GHGs, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols over the Northern Hemisphere have substantially increased during the last few decades, and their impacts on the regional climate are also assessed. It also discusses the global climate change, regional climate change, Indian monsoon variability, and the development of the first earth system model in India. Chapters 2-11 of the report assess changes in several aspects of regional climate and their drivers, viz., temperature, precipitation, GHGs, atmospheric aerosols and trace gases, droughts and floods, synoptic systems, tropical cyclones and extreme storms, Indian Ocean warming and sea-level rise, and the Himalayan cryosphere. While impacts and policy lie beyond the scope of this report, Chapter 12 closes this report with a brief outline of the potential implications of climate change for the country’s natural ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, infrastructure, environment, and public health, along with some policy-relevant messages towards realizing India’s sustainable development goals by mitigating these risks.

 This report also documents various aspects of the natural variability of the global and regional climate system, teleconnection mechanisms, and coupled feedback processes of the atmosphere-ocean–land–cryosphere system. A brief discussion ofcritical knowledge gaps is included in Chapters 2–11. A salient feature of this report is the inclusion of provisional results based on the CMIP Phase 6 (CMIP6) projections of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology – EarthSystem Model (IITM-ESM)—the first climate model from India, developed at the CCCR-IITM – thatis contributing to the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report (IPCC AR6) to be released in 2021.

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