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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brace for a 26/7 every 5 years instead of 20

'Climate Change Can Cause More Harm Than In '05'

New Delhi: Cloudbursts like the one that deluged Mumbai in 2005 could become a more frequent reality. Instead of occurring once in 20 years as they do on an average now, by the end of 21st century, it could happen as often as every five years and cause much greater damage, a yet-tobe released report by UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says. 

    Mumbai went through an aqua-shock in July, 2005, after 944 mm of rain fell—half of what the city receives annually on an average—within only 24 hours. Poor sanitation and drainage systems, incapable of handling the massive rainwater, had led to floods, crippling India's financial capital and causing an economic loss of $690-$1,890 million. The threat from such aqua shocks could treble by 2070 if climate change goes unchecked. 
    The flooding could have been managed better, if Mumbai's drainage systems were im
proved. The report devotes a lot of space to the Mumbai deluge, pointing out that the poorest suffer more in cities and that adaptation work like drainage management too would not cover all the risks with increase in high rain events and rising sea levels – both of which could occur during this century as mercury rises. The draft IPCC report is more careful than it ever was before the 'Himalayan blunder' controversy tarnished the institution's reputation. Yet, the predictions are dire. IPCC scientists confidently say places such as the Sunderbans, which are undergoing coastal erosion and inundation, will continue to suffer as sea levels rise. 
    The global average temperatures will rise by 1-3 degrees Celsius by 2050 and 2-5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This may look like an insignificant figure, but its impacts on agriculture and water resources could be dramatic. "It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency and magnitude of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur through the 21st century on the global scale," the report says. There will be more days with extreme heat and the temperatures on those days will also go higher than what we have witnessed till now.

A yet-to-be released report by UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change says places such as the Sunderbans, which are undergoing coastal erosion and inundation, will continue to suffer as sea levels rise


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