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The Fourth Assessment Report of IPCC having clinched in 2007 the evidence of global warming on account of anthropogenic activities, backed with scientific data gathered and analyzed globally, has made it mandatory world over to focus efforts on delineation of the anticipated adverse impacts of global warming on regional temperature and moisture regimes and the linked hydrologic, climatic and biospheric processes. First and foremost is the requirement to understand vulnerability to food and livelihood security in various ecosystems—on mainland, mid-range and high mountains as well as coastal areas including CEZs. The projected global temperature rise of the order of about two degrees or more and further rise at a decadal rate of o around 0. 2 C is sufficient to make grievous changes in sea surface level and submerge many low lying coastal areas around the world thereby possibly causing unprecedented losses to human habitat and livelihood in the coming years. A rise in climate variability is also becoming increasingly evident with potential direct impact on agricultural performance, on water accessibility and on weather extremes. Developing countries due to their poor infrastructure, limited resources and large impoverished population are likely to face more intense and wi- spread adverse impact of climate change than the developed world and also have limited adaptation capacity.



1. Human Dimensions of Changing Environment

There is an increasing global concern resulting from human activities affecting not only the human development but also endangering the planet earth. One of the important component of this hazard is that of its environment. It is interesting to investigate how it has been changing in the past before human activities began to alter it and how it is changing now and the extent to which recent changes have been contributed by human activities. These changes are caused by and in turn influence other components of the earth system – land, atmosphere, oceans – and the processes that relate them. There are concerns about human well-being and the earth system stability. Global change programme has now been redesigned to cover this entire earth system.

A. P. Mitra

2. Development Pathway

Development drivers and their relative role in development process can describe a development pathway as high or low energy, high or low emission, inherently sustainable or unsustainable. The focus is on South Asia because it houses over 1.4 billion people – more than one-fifth of the world’s population in 4.6 million square km. which is 3.3 per cent of the world landmass. The region is experiencing rapid energy demand growth and will remain major consumer of energy in next couple of decades. It is already well accepted that in forward looking view what the “non-G8” world thinks and does is of equal if not more importance. Non G-8 is not homogenous group and especially South Asia is a unique region with high poverty, resource rich, cultural, political, environmental diversity with interesting historical past. Following the global trend, regional cooperation to accelerate the process of economic and social development motivated governments of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives to join hands in 1985 to establish the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Joyashree Roy, Chhonda Bose, Ranjan Bose, Sarmistha Das, Shobhankar Dhakal, Mitali Dasgupta, Rucha Ghate, Saikat Sinha Roy, Manaswita Konar, Anoja Wickramasinghe, Moumita Roy, Chetana Chaudhuri

3. Instrumental, Terrestrial and Marine Records of the Climate of South Asia during the Holocene:

Present Status, Unresolved Problems and Societal Aspects

In South Asia, monsoon is almost a synonym to climate and constitutes a critical resource for the region’s largely agrarian economies. Region’ water needs are largely dependenton summer monsoon rainfall. In some regions however, of the total water budget, glacier melt water can measure up to ~10-15% the rest being the rainfall. The past century has seen a marked expansion of global/regional observational networks for accumulatuion of data on climate state parameters.However, so far, these have found only a limited use in policy planning in the socio-economic sector and for strategies toward sustainable development, particularly in the context of anticipated global warming. A critical synthesis Of all the climatic information is prerequisite for a scientifically sound policy planning. Consequently, a retginal scale description of the present state of our understanding of climate state parameters and an estimation of the likely amplitude of their variability are crucial for this purpose.

A. K. Singhvi, K. Rupakumar, M. Thamban, A. K. Gupta, V. S. Kale, R. R. Yadav, A. Bhattacharyya, N. R. Phadtare, P. D. Roy, M. S. Chauhan, O. S. Chauhan, S. Chakravorty, M. M. Sheikh, N. Manzoor, M. Adnan, J. Ashraf, Arshad M. Khan, D A. Quadir, L P. Devkota, A B. Shrestha

4. Land Transformation and Its Consequences in South Asia

Concerns about global and regional land use/cover change arose from the realization that land transformation influences climate change and reduces biotic diversity; hence the interest in deforestation, desertification, and other changes in natural vegetation. The more recent focus on issues related to ecosystem goods and services, sustainability, and vulnerability has led to a greater emphasis on the dynamic coupling between human societies and their ecosystems at a local scale.

V. K. Dadhwal, V. K. Dadhwal

5. Atmospheric Composition Change and Air Quality

Rapid economic growth and increasing energy demand, being witnessed in the South Asian region in the recent years, have its impact on atmospheric composition change and air quality. The Indian Ocean Experiment conducted during the late nineties has shown the spread of aerosol haze over most of the tropical Indian Ocean during winter months and an increase in the concentration of pollutant gases such as CO and ozone.

A. Jayaraman, G. Beig, U. C. Kulshrestha, T. Lahiri, M. R. Ray, S. K. Satheesh, C. Sharma, C. Venkataraman

6. Global Warming, Changes in Hydrological Cycle and Availability of Water in South Asia

Various regions of South Asia experience high climate variability, both spatially and temporally. The hydrological regime of major parts of the region is predominantly influenced by monsoon, which brings 70-80% of total annual rainfall during early June to September. The post-monsoon months become dry and there is hardly any appreciable rainfall during winter months (December to February).

M. Monirul Qader Mirza, Ahsan Uddin Ahmed

7. A Review on Current Status of Flood and Drought Forecasting in South Asia

South Asia region is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards like floods and droughts. Other hazards, for example, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis are also common. However, floods and droughts occur more frequently than the other hazards. Circulation and variability of the monsoon, spatial and temporal variability of extreme events, large floodplain and coastal areas, high population density, economic situation, etc. contribute to the vulnerability to natural hazards. Every year, floods and drought cause enormous economic losses in the form of crop damage, destruction of infrastructure and human settlement, deaths of livestock population, diseases and nutritional problems, etc.

M. Monirul Qader Mirza

8. Hydrometeorology of Floods and Droughts in South Asia – A Brief Appraisal

Flooding is a common event in South Asia. In fact, it has been said that after Bangladesh, India is the worst flood affected country in the world (Agarwal and Narayan). It is possible for extreme floods to inundate up to approximately 10 million hectares or nearly 70 percent of Bangladesh. By contrast, about 40 million hectares or nearly 12.5 percent of India is flood prone. Different types and extents of flooding occur in different regions of the subcontinent.

S. Nandargi, O. N. Dhar, M. M. Sheikh, Brenna Enright, M. Monirul Qader Mirza

9. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Stream-flows in the Greater Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Basins – A Climate Outlook

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River system is the third largest freshwater outlet to the world’s oceans; only the Amazon and the Congo River exceed it. This watershed encompasses a number of countries in the South Asian region, including China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh (Fig. 1).Of these, China contributes solely to the flow of the Brahmaputra, and Nepal to the flow of the Ganges (Nishat and Faisal, 2000).

Md. Rashed Chowdhury

10. Changes in the Coastal and Marine Environments

The Indian Ocean is bounded in the north by the Asian landmass at much lower latitudes. Presence of this massive landmass in the north deprives the Indian Ocean of the deep convection centres of the northern hemisphere, thus affecting the renewal and circulation of its deep waters. Consequently,the deep circulation in the northern Indian Ocean depends largely on advection of waters from the south.

S. N. de Sousa, Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, M. D. Kumar, T. G. Jagtap, S. Sardessai, A. Hassan

11. Key Vulnerabilities of Human Society in South Asia to Climate Change and Adaptation Issues and Strategies

Most of the area in the South Asian region, namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh,Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and India, lie in temperate and tropical regions that is influenced predominantly by the monsoons. The physiography of the region is diverse ranging from the Himalayas in the North, the long coast line, a vast desert and tropical forests with rich biodiversity reserve. In the recent years, huge losses have been incurred due to climate related hazards (see Box One) and recovering from such shocks has not been easy as socio-economics of the region is characterized by large population and high levels of poverty and unequal development within the countries mainly due to the non-attainment of its development goals such as eradication of poverty, universal education and a sustainable environment.

Sumana Bhattacharya


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