The rise in temperature and consequent melting of glaciers will also increase the likelihood of heatwaves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and other extreme weather events in the South Asian region, including India, the report said.
The report ‘Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis’—released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday—is the first part of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). The IPCC is a group put together by the United Nations, comprising over 234 scientists from 66 nations.
In the context of India, the report forecasts that climate change will lead to drastic environmental and ecological changes, many of which may prove to be irreversible.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called the report, which is the most up-to-date, “a code red for humanity”.
Here are the key takeaways:
— The global average temperature is likely to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius mark over pre-industrial levels between 2021 and 2040.
— As temperatures rise, agricultural and economic droughts are expected to occur globally.
— Climate change will affect rainfall patterns and intensify the water cycle. This means more intense rainfall and associated flooding in many regions. Rainfall variability related to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation is also projected to be amplified.
— Rising global temperature and rain can increase the occurrence of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) and landslides.
— A steady rise in sea level throughout the 21st century in coastal areas is likely to cause flooding in low-lying areas and coastal erosion.
— Possible loss of seasonal snow cover, melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and loss of summer Arctic sea ice.
— Ocean warming, more frequent marine heatwaves, ocean acidification, and reduced oxygen levels.
South Asian region
— In the long-term, South and Southeast Asian monsoon and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation will increase.
— Experiments with constant forcing indicate that at 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees Celsius global warming levels, mean precipitation, and monsoon extremes are projected to intensify in summer over India and South Asia.
— Snow-covered areas and snow volumes will decrease in most of the Hindu-Kush Himalayan and snowline elevations will rise and glacier volumes will decline in the 21st century.
— The Indian Ocean, which includes the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, has warmed faster than the global average.
— Heat extremes are likely to increase while cold extremes are predicted to decrease over Asia in the coming decades. Also, a warmer climate will intensify very wet and very dry weather and climate events and seasons.
Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said the report is “a clarion call for the developed countries to undertake immediate, deep emission cuts and decarbonisation of their economies”.
The minister, in a series of tweets, said India’s “cumulative and per capita emissions are significantly low and far less than the fair share of the global carbon budget.”