Sunday, May 6, 2007

Impacts in India: "Sweat It Out"

Deccan Sunday Herald: “Global warming is still an alien word for Subbanna from Doddaballapur or Hombalamma from Kanakapura or Biradar from Bijapur. Ironically, these are the people who will be most affected by the fallout of climate change. They, however, are familiar with local warming. They will tell you how rains are no more dependable. They are in touch with the pulse of the monsoons. These are farmers dependent on the rains for their livelihood. There are 80 million small and marginal farmers in the country and this is the situation of most of them. Almost two-thirds of the agriculture in the country is dependent on rainfall.

“Consider what happens to this group in a scenario of severe droughts or intense floods. For, that is what scientists predict for the country as a trend, which will worsen by the end of the century when the temperature could rise by three to five degrees Centigrade.

“Climate change will affect India’s monsoon cycle and cause a 20 percent rise in summer monsoon rainfall, they fear. In fact, the recent second report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which came out with predictions of the climate change said that India could be among the nations worst affected.

“By using a daily rainfall data set, scientists at the Centre of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (CAOS), IISc, and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, have already shown significant rising trends in the frequency and the magnitude of extreme rain events and a significant decreasing trend in the frequency of moderate events over central India during the monsoon seasons from 1951 to 2000. A substantial increase in hazards related to heavy rain is expected over central India in the future, says the study.”

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