India climate varies from desert to wet tropical systems. There is dry tropical and even alpine tundra and glaciers in the mountainous north of the country but generally it is hot.
One reason for the warm conditions is that the Himalayas block cold winds from the Tibetan plateau and so most of the country stays warm in winter and hot in summer. This creates a tropical climate even though India sits on a latitude that straddles the tropic.
Typically, the Indian climate in the west of the country is wet tropical. In the east it is tropical wet-dry, with monsoon, cyclones and extreme weather including floods and periodic droughts in most areas.
Climate change effect on India climate is expected to increase the frequency and unpredictability of these extreme events and the pattern of the monsoon.
Predictions are for
The flow of water in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Yamuna rivers is expected to increase as warmer temperature cause glaciers in the Himalayas to retreat. An extreme prediction from the WWF is that the Indus River may run dry when glaciers melt.
As more than 400,000 km2 of cropland is irrigated from surface water any change in water availability (floods and lower flows) is a challenge for production in a country where food supply is critical for a population of 1.17 billion.
Similarly many millions live in low-lying areas on the coast and are at risk from sea level rise
More extreme weather is likely to cause problems from landslides and especially from floods
The net annual cost of climate change effects in a changing climate India has been estimated to be 9% of GDP or roughly $160 billion.
Around 5,000 years ago the Thar Desert in the north of India was wet enough to have permanent lakes. In 5,000 years time the desert may well be wet again.
This is the reality of climate change.
The only difference between climate change in the past and now is that we can measure an impact on GDP.
Environmental Issues for Real by Dr J. Mark Dangerfield looks at some of the obvious, and some of the not so obvious, challenges for a growing human population living as we do in a finite world.
Only this time it's not about the impending disasters or the guilt or the blame.
This time, it’s 10 brief essays that are about the bigger picture. In less than an hour you could glimpse something different, a view that we can only see when we take a fresh look.
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