Mumbai, Chennai stare at severe flooding, says climate change report

The report talks about the alarming levels at which glaciers are melting and how it has already contributed to decline in agricultural yields in mountain regions, including Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Published: 26th September 2019 03:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2019 12:34 PM   |  A+A-

Hundreds of people throng to Elliot's Beach to hold a peaceful rally spreading awareness against Climate Change and urging government to act against it in Chennai on Sunday.

Hundreds of people throng to Elliot's Beach to hold a peaceful rally spreading awareness against Climate Change and urging government to act against it in Chennai on Sunday. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Andaman and Nicobar Islands and coastal cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Surat are threatened by extreme sea level rise and may see severe and frequent flooding, according to IPCC report released on Wednesday.   

Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate by the Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) also talks about the alarming levels at which glaciers are melting and how it has already contributed to decline in agricultural yields in mountain regions, including Hindu Kush Himalaya.

The report assessed that over 1.4 billion people living in mountains, coasts and islands across the globe are expected to face the wrath of global warming. Globally sea levels are estimated to rise 1.1 metre by 2100, if countries are not able to restrict emissions well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

“Islands like Andaman and Nicobar, Maldives will have to be vacated. People will have to be migrated from there as due to rising sea levels, these places will become non- inhabitable,” said Anjal  Prakash, the coordinating lead author of the IPCC report.

The report by 100 authors from 36 countries references about 7,000 scientific publications. India specific references show severe flooding in coastal cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Surat.  

“Rise in sea temperature would lead to flooding events and erosion of coasts. Major impact is expected in places like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” said M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. 

“Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency since 1982 and are increasing in intensity. Their frequency will be 20 times higher at 2°C warming, compared to pre-industrial levels. They would occur 50 times more often if emissions continue to increase,” the report said.

Excess heat
In a worrying trend, the IPCC report says that the ocean has taken up more than 90 per cent of the excess heat in the climate system and by 2100, the ocean will take up 2 to 4 times more heat than between 1970 and present.  

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