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Get ready for extreme weather, warns UN report

Warns countries about risks from these climate events. Chetan Chauhan reports. Impact India

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2011 02:49 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

A United Nations body has warned of increase in extreme heat waves, drought and intensity of drought because of climate change and had asked countries to invest more to adapt to new spree of global warming linked disasters.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) headed by RK Pachauri on Saturday said extreme weather events had increased since 1950, particularly daily temperature extreme and heat waves.

"It is likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation will increase and intensity of cyclones would be more," the report on climate mitigation released a week before start of global climate talks at Durban said.

India has already witnessed some of these extreme events in recent past.

Dr B Ventateswarlu, Director of Hyderabad based Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture said 14 districts in Bihar was hit by severe drought this year and another 15 by extensive monsoon flooding.

“We are witnessing unusual weather events,” he said, recalling flash flood in Andhra Pradesh in 2008. The region was historically known for drought and the local administration was never trained to cope with floods, he said.

The IPCC report said frequency of such weather events will increase in future with global carbon emissions on rise. “Heat wave will increase in length, frequency and intensity over most land areas,” the report said.

Another area of concern highlighted was more intense cyclone in most ocean basins even though the number of tropical cyclones will not increase. The report cited recent cyclone in Bangladesh to state that such events hit the poorest of the poor most not having capacity to cope with such disasters.

Over 95% of deaths because of natural disasters in the past 50 years have taken place in the developing world, where disaster adaptation measures are extremely weak. The finding would come handy to climate negotiators from developing countries such as India which had been seeking funding from rich nations for adaptation.

“Actions ranging from incremental improvements in governance and technology to more transformational changes are essential for reducing risk from climate extremes,” the report said.

First Published: Nov 20, 2011 00:32 IST