Global Warming and Its Implications for India

Global warming and its effects

Global warming and its effectsThe greenhouse gases that are caused by human activities result in global warming leading to environmental and social changes, directly or indirectly. Global warming  is an increase in the average temperature over a longer period of time of the Earth’s atmosphere which causes changes in the global climate. Right from the North Pole to the South Pole each and every place of the Earth is warming and is actually up by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) which has specially become sensitive in the Polar regions. The most concerning result of the global warming is that the precipitation patterns are shifting due to the heat other the melting of glaciers and sea ice. The animals are also on the move like butterflies and foxes and some plants like alpine have moved to the higher and cooler places further north.

All over the world the ice is melting. Especially the ice of the two Polar regions is melting, that is the mountain glaciers, Arctic Sea ice and the ice sheets that are covering west Antarctica and Greenland. It has been found by researchers that the number of Adelie penguins on Antarctica has decreased drastically. Globally, average precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) has increased and there is also a rise in sea level which has become faster over the last century.

Droughts, hurricanes will become frequent

If further warming continues then by the end of the century it is expected that the sea levels will rise by 7 to 23 inches (18 to 59 centimetres). Also the ice of the Polar regions will continue further melting which will add up to 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimetre). Occurrences of floods and droughts will be more frequent and storms like hurricane and others will be more vigorous and powerful. There will be widespread diseases like malaria which are transmitted by the mosquitoes. Availability of fresh water will be very less.

If this warming goes on then there will be a drastic change in the eco system. Species which are interdependent will go completely out of sync. For example, before the pollinating insects become active the plants will bloom. Species which will not be able to move further north may become extinct whereas others may move further north and can become more successful.

India is a very large country in South Asia which is the second most populated country in the world, and lies in the northern hemisphere. India has a very long coastline touching the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The neighbouring countries of India are Nepal, China, Bhutan, Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan. India has a wide range of temperatures being such a vast country. The scorching heat of the Thar desert and the freezing cold winters of the Himalayas play a very vital role in determining the weather conditions of India which makes it warmer than it is expected with its latitude. The Himalayan region acts as a barrier which prevents the cold freezing winds of continental Asia from blowing in which contributes in India’s warming whereas the Thar desert which attracts the summer monsoon wind is responsible for the monsoon season in India. However, the Indian subcontinent is considered to have a tropical climate.

India and the other countries in South Eastern Asia are expected to tolerate warming above the global mean throughout the 21st century. There will be a huge seasonal variation of temperatures in India. The heat waves have increased abnormally in India in recent years which continue for a longer period with warmer temperatures at night and hotter days. Due to these heat waves, there will be lot of changes in summer monsoon precipitation and will affect the Indian agriculture sector drastically.

The global warming has a very alarming effect on the Indian climate. Most of the States of India are disaster-prone as India is a disaster-prone country. India is the third highest in the world in terms of number of major disasters according to the research which was carried out in 2007-2008. Due to the melting of glaciers and expanding seas it has been predicted that the Indian climate will be severely influenced with more occurrence of floods, storms and hurricanes. The food security situation of India is at stake due to recurrence of severe droughts and devastating floods immersing the cultivable land. The Himalayan glaciers are continuously melting due to the increasing temperatures on the Tibetan plateau which has resulted in the decrease of the water flow in the rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Brahmaputra and other main rivers. As a result of this, the livelihood of the innumerable number of farmers who are dependent on these rivers is at stake.

Crop production to suffer

It has been projected that if global warming continues with more climatic disasters then Indian GDP will decrease to about 9 per cent as there will be a decrease by 40 per cent of the production of the main crops. It has been projected that rise of temperatures by two per cent in India will displace millions and millions of people.

After Bangladesh, India is the most flood prone country in the world with approximately 40 million hectares of the land at the risk to floods. The most endangered States of India are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.

The impact of global warming has become such that at one time there is a tremendous increase of precipitation whereas it becomes minimum later. As a result, severe drought has occurred in the past few centuries in India. As India is solely dependent on sustainable and good monsoon for agricultural productivity, the failure of good monsoon has an adverse effect on production of crops and finally resulting in droughts. The drought prone states are mainly Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha.

For the past 30 years the average number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes each year has increased due to the global warming. Indian coastline is very much susceptible to cyclones and it has been observed that the Bay of Bengal experiences more cyclones than the Arabian Sea. The most susceptible cyclonic States are West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu along the Bay of Bengal which are mostly affected.

As India has long coastline with the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, it is highly vulnerable to global warming. Any negative effect to the natural cycle of the sea has a very adverse and severe effect on the people of India.

Due to the global warming there is already an increase in cyclones, rise in sea level, people are displaced, flooding and the acidification of the waters resulting in the reduction of sea food.

The aquatic ecosystem like mangroves, coral reefs and grasslands have been affected due to the global warming and has caused tremendous damage to coastal infrastructure, aquaculture and coastal tourism.

The global warming has resulted in the change of pattern of floods, droughts, intense cyclones and of course the rise in temperatures which has affected India extremely and intensively. Indian economy has been affected very much due to the recurrence of natural disasters and most people of India suffer and become deprived of their basic needs like food and shelter.