A report assessing the impact of climate change in India in the 2030s projects an increase in temperature and precipitation in the four climate-sensitive Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the coastal belt and the North-eastern regions of the country. Factors for concern include fall in milk production, increase in cyclonic intensity, and fall in Himalayan apple production.
The report prepared by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment, which was released by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on Tuesday, is a joint effort on scientific assessment on different aspects of climate change by 220 scientists and 120 institutions from across the country.
In the foreword to the report, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh states that “there is no country in the world that is as vulnerable on so many dimensions to climate change as India is.” He said the assessment was critical in designing the country's adaptation strategies.
The report also projects an assessment on the impact of climate change on the country's four key sectors of the economy namely agriculture, water, natural resources and biodiversity and health. As per the report, the net increase in temperature during the 2030s compared to the 1970s ranges from 1.7 degrees C to 2.2 degrees C with maximum increase in the coastal regions. The precipitation increase will be maximum in the Himalayan region and minimum in the North-Eastern region.
The analyses shows that while there will be widespread increase in rainfall over the interior regions, there will be significant reduction in orographic rainfall over the western coasts of Kerala and Karnataka and the eastern hilly regions around Assam. The sea level along the Indian coast which is already rising at the rate of 1.3 mm annually is likely to further rise in consonance with the global sea level rise. In the 2030s, the frequency of cyclones is likely to decrease but their intensity will increase.
The projections show an increase in coconut productivity in the western coast and a fall in coconut production along the eastern coast. Apple production in the Himalayan region is also likely to fall. While irrigated rice yields will go up due to carbon dioxide fertilisation effect, rainfed rice crop will come down.
The wealth of some edible marine species like sardines will appreciably increase as warming will favour their productivity. Species like the Indian mackerel will move to northern latitudes and some species may even change their spawning seasons. With overall warming, the thermal humidity index will increase in all regions, especially during May and June, causing stress to livestock and hence reduction in milk productivity.