India will see a rise by 4.4 degree Celsius in average temperature and witness an increase of heat waves by three to four folds by the end of the century, warns the first ever report – “Assessment of Climate Change Over the Indian region” – by the government.
The report says that the temperatures of the warmest day and the coldest night of the year have risen by about 0.63°C and 0.4°C respectively. It said that the warmest and the coldest nights will rise by approximately 4.7°C and 5.5°C respectively by the end of the 21st century. The missions of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) and changes in Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) has resulted in the variation in the temperature.
Changes in Rainfall
The report says that summer monsoon precipitation (June to September) over the country has declined by around 6 per cent from 1951 to 2015. It also pointed out decreases over Western Ghats and Indo-Gangetic Plains. The report said that radiative effects of anthropogenic aerosol increase from Green House Gases have caused the decline in summer monsoon precipitation.
The latest report also points out to frequent dry spells (27% higher during 1981–2011 relative to 1951–1980) and more intense wet spells during the summer monsoon season. It said that frequency of daily precipitation extremes with rainfall intensities was witnessed in central India. This exceeded 150 mm per day and increased by about 75 per cent during 1950–2015.
Droughts have increased in India with the overall decrease of seasonal summer monsoon rainfall during in the last six to seven decades. The report said that frequency and spatial extent of droughts have increased much during 1951–2016. Central India, southern peninsula, north-eastern India and southwest coast experienced more than two droughts per decade, the report notes. It said that the affected by drought has also increased by 1.3 per cent per decade. The report also forecast an increase in the frequency of drought and the area under drought by the end of the twenty-first century.
Sea Level Rise
The report mentions that sea level has increased globally because of global warming. It said that the rise of sea level in the North Indian Ocean (NIO) occurred at a rate of 1.06 to 1.75 mm per year during 1874–2004 and accelerated to 3.3 mm per year in the last two and a half decades (1993–2017). The report points out that the steric sea level in the NIO is projected to rise by about 300 mm at the end of the twenty-first century.
Since the middle of the 20th century, the report notes that there has been a significant reduction in the annual frequency of tropical cyclones over the NIO basin. However, the frequency of very severe cyclonic storms during the post-monsoon season has increased, the report says.
Changes in the Himalayas
The Hind Kush Himalayas experienced a rise in temperature of about 1.3°C during 1951–2014. The report also notes that the Himalayan stretch has shown a declining trend in snowfall and also retreat of glaciers in recent decades. However, the Karakoram Himalayas have experienced higher winter snowfall that protected the region from glacier shrinkage. It said that the annual temperature over HKH was projected to increase by about 5.2°C by the end of the 21st century.
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