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Future weather: Be prepared for intense heatwaves and large cyclones

IITM says climate change effect can be seen across India since the past 50-60 years with mean temperature and extreme temperatures showing steady rise. 

pune Updated: Mar 27, 2018 15:43 IST
Jui Dharwadkar
Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Cyclones,Weather,Climate change
A worker at a building under construction in Pune. IITM scientists have said that there is evidence that climate change is making temperatures warmer. They added that the globe has become warmer by at least one degrees Celsius.(SANKET WANKHADE/HT PHOTO)

According to the Centre for Climate Change Research- Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), heatwaves and cyclones are likely to become more frequent and more intense due to climate change in the coming years.

Speaking about climate change, executive director, Centre for Climate Change Research- IITM, Dr R Krishnan said, "The effect of climate change can be seen across India since the past 50-60 years. It can be seen that the mean temperature and the extreme temperatures have increased."

Dr Krishnan said that the possibility of climate change causing cyclone Ockhi cannot be ruled out even as there is no clear evidence proving it currently.

Cyclone Ockhi had caused havoc in north Maharashtra coastline, including Mumbai, south Gujarat and in southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and union territory Lakshadweep in December last year.

IITM scientists have said that there is evidence that climate change is making temperatures warmer. They added that the globe has become warmer by at least one degrees Celsius.

"Tropical cyclones are being seen over Arabian sea now, which is unusual. If the sea level rises and the ocean temperature goes up, then cyclones can form easily. These cyclones can also become very intense and can cause large-scale flooding," said Dr Krishnan.

When asked about the impact of climate change on monsoon, Dr Krishnan said, "When greenhouse gases increase, atmosphere can hold more moisture, which is favourable for rainfall. But there are various other factors which need to be studied while predicting monsoon and hence, a direct correlation between climate change and monsoon cannot be established."

India to be part of UN climate change assessment report for first time

India, for the first time, will be part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report. This has become possible with the IITM earth systems models developed at the Centre for Climate Change Research-Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. IITM’s earth system models allows to quantify mechanisms governing the rate of change of elements of the earth system.

IPCC is a scientific intergovernmental body working under the United Nations. The assessment reports provide scientific details of effects of climate change on the global level. The IPCC assessment reports support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The IPCC assessment reports covers the scientific, technical and socio-economic aspects related to climate change and its effects. IPCC assessment reports are also an internationally accepted authority on climate change. The reports have the agreement of climate scientists and participating governments.

Dr R Krishnan, executive director, Centre For Climate Change Research-IITM, said, “So far, five IPCC assessment reports have been published. India was not part of the last five and had not shared any inputs. The sixth IPCC assessment report is likely to be presented in 2022, in which IITM will give its inputs related to climate change globally. Hence, this would be the first time that India would participate in the IPCC assessment report.”

Speaking about the reasons behind why India could not contribute to IPCC assessment reports earlier, Dr Krishnan said, “For making assessment related to climate change globally, analysis of atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere and biosphere are conducted. There are certain standard experiments that need to be undertaken for IPCC assessment reports. This process is computationally very intense and requires super computers, which we lack.”

Dr Krishnan said that with IITM earth system models developed at IITM, Pune, the computational challenges can be overcome and that India will now present its inputs in the sixth IPCC assessment.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 15:43 IST