Friday, November 30, 2007

More and stronger cyclones expected in the Bay of Bengal Intense cyclonic events may increase in India's east coast, a leading scientist has said. A.S. Unnikrishnan, a scientist at National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, told IANS in a telephonic interview that there were many studies that indicate intense tropical cyclonic events would increase as a result of climate change.

Unnikrishnan is one of the leading authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) led by Rajendra K. Pachauri. The panel has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. “Our study using analysis of a regional climate model and a storm surge model indicates that there may be increase in intense cyclonic events in the Bay of Bengal,” he said. 'We recently carried out this study jointly with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune," Unnikrishnan said.

In the study, model simulations were analysed using a regional climate model (HadRM2) developed by the Hadley Centre for Climate Research in Britain. One model simulation for a control run (in which the concentration of carbon dioxide is kept constant) and another model simulation with increased carbon dioxide concentrations have been analysed in their study. Simulation results were analysed for the northern Indian Ocean to predict future occurrences of tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal for the period 2041-60, the scientist said. The analysis showed that the frequency of intense cyclonic events rose in the increased carbon dioxide scenario. Higher storm surges are found in the increased carbon dioxide scenario than in the control run, he added.

'Right now, we do not know the places in the east coast most vulnerable to this or the places likely to be more affected. As there are uncertainties in future projections, it will be difficult to pinpoint this,' Unnikrishnan said. The occurrence of storm surges is common to the countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal, as it is the hotbed of generating tropical cyclones, he added. "Any increase in the frequency or intensity of tropical disturbances in future will cause increased damages to life and property in the coastal regions. It is for the socio economic groups, policy makers to plan strategies for adaptation," Unnikrishnan stated.


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