About three in four of India’s districts are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclones, floods, drought, heat and cold waves, according to a study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a research agency.
India saw 250 extreme climate events between 1970 and 2005, and since then 310 extreme weather events. The study also found a shift in the pattern of extreme climate events such as flood-prone areas becoming drought-prone and vice-versa in over 40% of districts.
“The current trend of catastrophic climate events results from a mere 0.6 °C temperature rise in the last 100 years. India is already the fifth most vulnerable country globally in terms of extreme climate events and it is all set to become the world’s flood capital. Access to finance and technology along with democratisation of weather and climate-related data is critical for building climate resilience, especially for vulnerable countries like India,” Abinash Mohanty, programme lead at CEEW and the author of the study, said in a statement.
There were over 97 million people being exposed to extreme floods in India, said the study. Six of India’s eight most flood-prone districts in the last decade — Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Golaghat, Sivasagar — are in Assam.
The last 50 years also recorded a 12-fold surge in the number of associated cyclonic events such as extreme rainfall, floods, and thunderstorms.
The yearly average of drought-affected districts increased 13 times after 2005, the paper said. Nearly 68% of Indian districts have been facing droughts and drought-like situations. Drought-affected district hotspots of India in the last decade were Ahmednagar, Anantapur, Aurangabad, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Chikkaballapur, Chittoor, Gulbarga, and Hassan. While the intensity of damage in terms of loss of life has reduced significantly, drought increases uncertainties related to agriculture and rural livelihoods, the research found.
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