Climate Change – Significant Impact On Himalayas Predicted

Posted on January 25, 2011 by

A report studying the impact of climate change on four key Indian economic sectors – water, natural ecosystems, biodiversity and health was recently released by the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA). The report analyzes the impacts in the four key climate-sensitive regions in India, which are the Himalayan region, Western Ghats, the coastal region and the northeastern region. This report includes the first ever assessment made for the 2030’s as against the earlier projections developed for 2070’s and beyond.

Some of the key findings and projections are as under

1. There will be 5 to 20% increase in the water yield in the Himalayan region. This region is expected to experience highest growth in precipitation based on 1970’s level – the growth in northeastern is expected to be the least.

2. Agriculture in Himalayan region will be affected, resulting in a decrease in apple production. Other crops outputs expected to come under stress include maize and sorghum. Coconut production is expected to increase in the western coast and fall in the eastern coastal region.

3. Global warming is expected have a positive effect in irrigated rice yields. All regions analyzed could see marginal increases in irrigated rice yields as compared with rain-fed crops. This is driven by the fact that the irrigated rice benefit from the carbon dioxide fertilization effect.

4. Climate change could adversely affect human health across all regions. Malaria incidence is expected to increase in new areas in the Himalayan region. The northeast region is expected to experience increased malaria transmission for a longer period, and the Western Ghats will experience no significant change in the transmission trend.

5. Overall warming is expected in all the regions, as well as rising sea levels along the Indian coast. Occurrence of cyclones is anticipated to decrease, but stronger cyclonic intensities should be expected.

INCCA is working to issue another report on India’s carbon aerosol, or black carbon, program in May 2011.