India is faced with a range of climate change effects such as severe heat waves, increase in frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfall and rising sea levels, the Centre told the Lok Sabha on Friday.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey was responding to questions on global warming raised by two Bharatiya Janata Party MPs Shivakumar C Udasi and Kanakmal Katara.
The MPs had asked for details of areas most affected by climate change and if unusual weather conditions in the country are the consequences of global warming. They also asked whether the government had conducted any scientific study on the impact of global warming, and details of international deliberations.
“Yes, there have been several scientific studies on these weather events and their adverse impacts,” Choubey said. “Heavy rainfall and temperature extremes like heat waves, shifts in semiarid regions etc. are some of the recent findings which may have possible linkages with climate change and global warming...Another important impact of rising temperatures is on heat wave-related mortality and morbidity.”
Choubey said studies have reported rising trends in frequency and magnitude of extreme rainfalls over India “against a backdrop of global warming”. “Rise of sea level and increase in atmospheric temperature are among the various consequences of the global warming,” Choubey said. “The sea levels are changing at different rates along the Indian coast as per the studies carried out by the Ministry [of Earth Sciences].”
Choubey said regions that are most prone to the impact of climate change are central and north India and the western Himalayas in the form of extreme rainfall, and in north and northwest India in the form of moderate droughts.
Choubey, quoting from the fifth assessment report of the International Panel on Climate Change, said global sea level was rising at an average rate of 1.8 millimetres per year over the last century. Data for India showed that the rate of sea level change in some coastal areas were higher than the global average.
Diamond Harbour in West Bengal recorded a sea level rise rate of 5.16 mm per year between 1948 and 2005. Kandla in Gujarat recorded a sea level rise rate of 2.89 mm per year.
Sea levels are estimated to have risen by 1.3 mm annually along the Indian coasts during the past 40 to 50 years, Choubey said replying to another MP’s question.
Choubey also said that disastrous weather events claimed 1,428 lives in the country in 2018, of which 842 people died due to flood and heavy rainfall, PTI reported.