Effects of global warming on South Asia
The effects of global warming on the Indian subcontinent vary from the submergence of low-lying islands and coastal lands to the melting of glaciers in the Indian Himalayas, threatening the volumetric flow rate of many of the most important rivers of India and South Asia. In India, such effects are projected to impact millions of lives. As a result of ongoing climate change, the climate of India has become increasingly volatile over the past several decades; this trend is expected to continue.
Elevated carbon dioxide emissions from industries, factories, vehicles etc. have contributed to the greenhouse effect, causing warmer weather that lasted long after the atmospheric shroud of dust and aerosols had cleared. Further climatic changes 20 million years ago, long after India had crashed into the Laurasian landmass, were severe enough to cause the extinction of many endemic Indian forms. The formation of the Himalayas resulted in blockage of frigid Central Asian air, preventing it from reaching India; this made its climate significantly warmer and more tropical in character than it would otherwise have been.
Past climate change
However, such shifts are not new: for example, earlier in the current Holocene epoch (4,800–6,300 years ago), parts of what is now the Thar Desert were wet enough to support perennial lakes; researchers have proposed that this was due to much higher winter precipitation, which coincided with stronger monsoons. Similarly, Kashmir, which once had a warm subtropical climate, shifted to a substantially colder temperate climate 2.6–3.7 mya; it was then repeatedly subjected to extended cold spells starting 1 million years ago.
Projected effects of global warming in South Asia
Several effects of global warming, including steady sea level rise, increased cyclonic activity, and changes in ambient temperature and precipitation patterns, have affected or are projected to affect the subcontinent.
As per the IPCC, depending upon the scenario visualised, the projected global average surface warming will result in temperature increases world-wide at the end of the 21st Century relative to the end of the 20th Century ranges from 0.6 to 4 °C.
As regards local temperature rises, the IPCC figures projected for the mean annual increase in temperature by the end of the century in South Asia is 3.3 °C with the min-max range as 2.7 and 4.7°C. The mean value for Tibet would be higher with mean increase of 3.8°C and min-max figures of 2.6 and 6.1 °C respectively which implies harsher warming conditions for the Himalayan watersheds.
Rise in sea level
The corresponding sea level rise at the end of the 21st Century relative to the end of the 20th Century ranges from 0.18 to 0.59 m (excluding any rapid dynamical changes in ice flows in the future). Ongoing sea level rises have already submerged several low-lying islands in the Sundarbans, displacing thousands of people. Temperature rises on the Tibetan Plateau, which are causing Himalayan glaciers to retreat. It has been predicted that the historical city of Thatta and Badin, in Sindh, Pakistan would have been swallowed by the sea by 2025, as the sea is already encroaching 80 acres of land here, every day.
Observed changes in the natural and human environment
Increased landslides and flooding are projected to have an impact upon states such as Assam. Ecological disasters, such as a 1998 coral bleaching event that killed off more than 70% of corals in the reef ecosystems off Lakshadweep and the Andamans, and was brought on by elevated ocean temperatures tied to global warming, are also projected to become increasingly common.
The first among the countries to be affected by severe climate change is Bangladesh. Its sea level, temperature and evaporation are increasing, and the changes in precipitation and cross boundary river flows are already beginning to cause drainage congestion. There is a reduction in fresh water availability, disturbance of morphologic processes and a higher intensity of flooding and other such disasters. Bangladesh only contributes 0.1% of the world’s emissions yet it has 2.4% of the world’s population. In contrast, the United States makes up about 5 percent of the world's population, yet they produce approximately 25 percent of the pollution that causes global warming.
The Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research has reported that, if the predictions relating to global warming made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change come to fruition, climate-related factors could cause India's GDP to decline by up to 9%; contributing to this would be shifting growing seasons for major crops such as rice, production of which could fall by 40%. Around seven million people are projected to be displaced due to, among other factors, submersion of parts of Mumbai and Chennai, if global temperatures were to rise by a mere 2 °C (3.6 °F).
Villagers in India's North Eastern state of Meghalaya are also concerned that rising sea levels will submerge neighbouring low-lying Bangladesh, resulting in an influx of refugees into Meghalaya—which has few resources to handle such a situation.
If severe climate changes occur, Bangladesh will lose land along the coast line. This will be highly damaging to Bangladeshis especially because nearly two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single most important product. The economy has grown 5-6% over the past few years despite inefficient state-owned enterprises, delays in exploiting natural gas resources insufficient power supplies, and slow implementation of economic reforms. However, Bangladesh remains a poor, overpopulated, and inefficiently governed nation. If no further steps are taken to improve the current conditions global warming will affect the economy severely worsening the present issues further.. The climate change would increase expenditure towards health care, cool drinks, alcoholic beverages, air conditioners, ice cream, cosmetics, agro chemicals etc.
Climate Change in India will have a disproportionate impact on the more than 400 million that make up India's poor (See Poverty in India). This is because so many depend on natural resources for their food, shelter and income. More than 56% of people in India work in agriculture, while many others earn their living in coastal areas.
Thick haze and smoke, originating from burning biomass in northeastern India and air pollution from large industrial cities in northern India, often concentrate inside the Ganges Basin. Prevailing westerlies carry aerosols along the southern margins of the steep-faced Tibetan Plateau to eastern India and the Bay of Bengal. Dust and black carbon, which are blown towards higher altitudes by winds at the southern faces of the Himalayas, can absorb shortwave radiation and heat the air over the Tibetan Plateau. The net atmospheric heating due to aerosol absorption causes the air to warm and convect upwards, increasing the concentration of moisture in the mid-troposphere and providing positive feedback that stimulates further heating of aerosols.
Tribal people in India's remote northeast plan to  honour former U.S. Vice President Al Gore with an award for promoting awareness on climate change that they say will have a devastating impact on their homeland.
Meghalaya- meaning 'Abode of the Clouds' in Hindi--is home to the towns of Cherrapunji and Mawsynram, which are credited with being the wettest places in the world due to their high rainfall. But scientists state that global climate change is causing these areas to experience an increasingly sparse and erratic rainfall pattern and a lengthened dry season, affecting the livelihoods of thousands of villagers who cultivate paddy and maize. Some areas are also facing water shortages.
People are becoming aware of ills of global warming. Taking initiative on their own people from Sangamner, Maharashtra (near Shirdi) have started a campaign of planting trees known as Dandakaranya- The Green Movement. It was started by visionary & ace freedom fighter the late Shri Bhausaheb Thorat in the year 2005. To date, they have sowed more than 12 million seeds & planted half a million plants.
- Environment of India
- Climate change in China
- Asian brown cloud
- Indian Network on Climate Change Assessment (INCCA)
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- "India Meteorological Department". Government of India.
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