Can extreme events like the 2005 deluge in Mumbai become a common occurrence in the next 20 years? What will be the average summer temperature in the state 40 years down the line?
Soon, the state government will have answers to these questions and the ones on climate change. The Met Office Hadley Centre (MOHC), UK’s foremost climate change research centre will use its state-of-the-art climate model to provide climate projections for Maharashtra.
The climate predictions will be for three time slices, the 2030s, 2050s and 2070s.
The state’s environment department will have collaboration with MOHC through its tie-up with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi. TERI is undertaking a two-year study for the state, to analyse current and projected vulnerabilities of key sectors like water, health, agriculture and coastal areas to climate change.
“We are the first state to have this kind of collaboration with TERI and MOHC. The two-year study will prepare us to adapt to climate change impacts in the state,” said environment minister Suresh Shetty.
MOHC’s climate model outputs will help predict the state’s average temperature, rainfall pattern, sea level rise, occurrence and magnitude of extreme events like floods and droughts for the three time slices over the next 60 years. These in turn along with field data and official records will be used to draw up a vulnerability index to identify climate change hotspots.
For instance, Mumbai’s northern suburbs like Versova are more vulnerable to land loss and increased flooding.
TERI notes that one meter rise in sea level can put an estimated 13 lakh people at risk in the state.
“Millions of slumdwellers can be displaced and increased sea water intrusion may further reduce fresh water supplies,” states the TERI document proposing the study.
The MOU with TERI will be finalised in the coming fortnight.