In India, over 75% districts hotspots of extreme weather events, finds study

In India, over 75% districts hotspots of extreme weather events, finds study

News: Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) has released a report titled “Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events”.This is the first time that extreme weather event hotspots in the country have been mapped.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hotspots: Over 75% of districts in India are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves and cold waves.
  • Extreme Climate Events: The frequency, intensity, and unpredictability of extreme events have risen in recent decades.While India witnessed 250 extreme climate events in 35 years between 1970 and 2005, it recorded 310 such weather events in only 15 years since then.
  • Cyclones: After 2005, the yearly average number of districts affected by cyclones tripled and the cyclone frequency-doubled.
  • Floods: The decade 2000-2009 showed a spike in extreme flood events and in associated flood events which affected almost 473 districts.
  • Droughts: The yearly average of drought-affected districts increased 13 times after 2005.Until 2005, the number of districts affected by drought was six, but after 2005 this figure rose to 79.
  • Microclimatic zones shifting: These are areas where the weather is different from surrounding areas.The study has found that they are shifting across various districts of India.
    • Reasons: Some reasons behind this shift in microclimatic zones is change in land-use patterns, disappearing wetlands and natural ecosystems by encroachment and urban heat islands that trap heat locally.

Recommendations:

  • Develop a Climate Risk Atlas to map critical vulnerabilities such as coasts, urban heat stress, water stress, and biodiversity collapse
  • Develop an Integrated Emergency Surveillance System to facilitate a systematic and sustained response to emergencies
  • Mainstream risk assessment at all levels, including localised, regional, sectoral, cross-sectoral, macro and micro-climatic level
  • Enhance adaptive and resilience capacity to climate-proof lives, livelihoods and investments
  • Increase the participatory engagement of all stakeholders in the risk assessment process
  • Integrate risk assessment into local, sub-national, and national level plans.
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