Western Ghats least hit by global warming

Western Ghats least hit by global warming

Annual temperatures in 2030 will rise to 2.2 degree Celsius compared to their 1970s levels of 1.7 degee Celsius, the report warns.

This means, while a large tract of the Western Ghat may experience higher temperature rise and less rainy days, the Ghat region of Karnataka may be an exception, making it a better place to live.

Precipitation increase

The “Climate Change and India: a 4x4 assessment” report, which was released on Tuesday providing an assessment of impact of climate change in 2030, also predicts an increase in precipitation (rain, snow and storm) in the eco-fragile areas of the Himalayas, North-east, Western Ghats and the coastal region.

The adverse impact of climate change will be more on rain-fed crops cultivated in northern parts of eight Ghat districts where production loss could be as much as 10 per cent, the report, released by Union Science Minister Kapil Sibal along with Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, adds.

The forecast has been prepared by Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment (INCCA), a group of institutions in the country analysing global warming in Indian context.

Among the crops, cereals will be hit most, with maize and sorghum to drop in production by nearly 50 per cent.

However, irrigated rice in parts of southern Karnataka and northern Kerala may stand to gain as compared to rain-fed rice due to the fertilisation effects of carbon dioxide.

“But that increase could be a short-term one. If the temperature increases beyond that, the crops may start loosing,” S Naresh Kumar, senior scientist at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) who prepared the agriculture chapter of the report, told Deccan Herald.

According to the INCCA report, coconut yields are projected to increase by up to 30 per cent in majority of the region mainly due to increase in rainfall. It will increase in western coast areas and dip along the eastern coast.

Kumar admitted there was no crop-forecast model to predict the fate of coffee, rubber, spices and fruits, cultivated in vast tracts of the Western Ghat regions.

But apple production in the Himalayas, particularly in Himachal Pradesh, will dip. For fish lovers, INCC forecast had a whale of news. Productivity of popular species like sardines and Indian mackerel will increase with warming.

The mackerel will move upwards to northern latitudes and species like Threadfin breams may adjust their spawning seasons according to temperature.

Other possible impacts include increase in the number of droughts in the Himalayas and spreading of malaria to new territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

By 2030...

* Rainfall to dip along the West coast, except in Karnataka
* Rain-fed crop yield in 8 State Ghat districts to drop by 10 pc
* Maize and sorghum yield will drop by 50 pc
* 30 pc increase in coconut production
* Apple yield in Himalayas to dip

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