Warming will affect rainfall pattern leading to increased droughts: N.H. Ravindranath

Many parts across India would experience a two to three degree C rise in temperature as compared to pre-industrial times due to climate change by 2050 with Northern region facing a higher level of warming than the Southern States.

This prediction was made through climate modelling studies carried out by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), Bangalore.

Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the global biodiversity meet (COP 11) here on Wednesday, N.H. Ravindranath from the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, IISc and one of the authors of the study, said there could be a rise of two degrees C in many regions by 2030 itself.

In Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and some parts of the Himalayan region the temperatures were expected to go up by 6 to 8 degrees by 2100. “It can have catastrophic impact on all water resources in Northern India”, he warned.

The temperature increase would be largely due to emissions of CO 2, methane and other greenhouse gases.

As a result of such warming, one-third to half of the forests in the country and biodiversity resources could be impacted.

For instance, the wetlands could disappear and a third of the Western Ghats could be impacted. “The loss of biodiversity will be irreversible if climate impacts Western Ghats”, he remarked.

Prof. Ravindranath said the warming was expected to have an effect on the rainfall pattern leading to increased droughts and less rainy days. But rainfall intensity might be higher on some days leading to floods.

Sea-level rise

Sea-level rise too would have irreversible impact on the coastal infrastructure and mangroves over a 30-100 year period.

He said the poor would be the most affected due to the effect of climate change on various ecosystem services.

Since there was no legally binding agreement among nations to reduce emissions, adaptation was the only option for developing countries. “We can’t wait for perfect knowledge or for the full impact... it will be too late. We have to take precautionary action through biodiversity conservation,” he added.