India starts comprehensive climate change assessment

India starts comprehensive climate change assessment

According to Ministry of Environment and Forests officials, 127 research organisations and 220 scientists are being involved in extensive research activity on the issue. Their report will be released in November next year. Climate change in India has led to a rise in sea level while storm surge has also become a major worry for the authorities, say experts.

"We've seen that the shoreline across the country is getting affected due to the sea-level rise. Erosion is going to take place and it will cause a major damage and human displacement in the coastal parts of the Bay of Bengal," said Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services director S.S.C. Shenoi.

"In Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) also a large portion of land is likely to go under water in next 50-100 years," he said. Despite only about six percent of the global tropical cyclones affecting the coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, intensity of cyclonic storms has gone up, said S.K. Dube, professor at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences of the Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi (IIT-Delhi).

"Storm surge has also become a major cause for concern in several coastal areas along the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. We have noticed that the intensity of cyclonic storms has increased though only 5-6 percent of global tropical cyclones affect these two areas. It's also because of climate change," Dube said. The climate study will enable the scientists to gauge the changing aspects of the environment properly.

"This will be the first comprehensive scientific climate assessment study carried out in different regions of the country. India has to build its own capacity to study what is happening to our ecology," Union Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told a recent South Asian seminar on climate change organised by Delhi-based green body Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in the capital.

The minister said: "So far, our knowledge of climate change in the country is mostly impressionistic and not robust. With the climate study being carried out in various places -- including glacial retreat in the Himalayan region and the sea-level rise in coastal states of India -- we'll be able to gauge the changing aspects of our environment properly."

Some state governments have also been asked to prepare their own climate action plans focussing on environmental changes. Talking about research collaboration, Ramesh said India could always enter into technology development and transfer activities with foreign nations especially on the subject of climate change survey. Ramesh said India was also on its way to launching its own satellite to monitor atmospheric greenhouse gases.

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