India’s rivers are heating up due to climate change, shows study

What is the News?

According to a study, climate change may turn India’s rivers into hostile environments for aquatic life by 2070-2100.

About the study

The study covered seven Indian basins: Ganga, Narmada, Cauvery, Sabarmati, Tungabhadra, Musi and Godavari.

Method used: It used machine learning to predict the historical, present and future river water temperatures for each of the basins. This was then converted into dissolved oxygen levels.

What are the key findings of the study?

By 2070-2100, river water temperatures may increase and dissolved oxygen levels may decrease due to the impact of climate change.

For instance, under a high-emissions scenario, average river water temperatures are expected to climb 7 degrees Celsius in summer reaching close to 35 °C by 2070-2100.

On the other hand, dissolved oxygen levels can drop to 7.3 milligrams/liter of water from 7.9 mg/l at present. This may impact aquatic life.

What is Dissolved Oxygen?

Dissolved oxygen(DO) is the amount of oxygen that is present in water. Water bodies receive oxygen from the atmosphere and from aquatic plants. Running water, such as that of a swift-moving stream, dissolves more oxygen than the still water of a pond or lake.

Importance: Aquatic organisms use dissolved oxygen to breathe. But oxygen becomes less soluble in warmer and polluted waters. The riverine species cannot survive for long when the level of dissolved oxygen drops below 4-5 mg/l of water. 

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s rivers are heating up due to climate change, shows study” published in DTE on 24th June 2022.

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