In news: The State of the Climate in Asia 2021 report published by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) has been released.
Findings of the report:
- India suffered a total loss of $3.2 billion from floods and $4.4 billion from storms in 2021 as climate change has made these events more frequent.
- During 2021, India experienced five cyclonic storms with maximum sustained wind speeds of ≥ 34 knots
- Extremely severe cyclonic storm Tauktae (May) formed over Arabian Sea during pre-monsoon season was the most devastating.
- Severe Cyclonic Storm Yaas (May) hit West Bengal and northern Odisha, causing damages worth Rs 20,000 crore and Rs 600 crore, respectively.
- Cyclone Gulab (September) landed on the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts, accumulated damages to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore.
- Cyclone Shaheen was formed from the remnants of Gulab and caused heavy rainfall in Gujarat.
- Cyclonic Storm Jawad, causing heavy rainfall over the eastern coast.
- Thunderstorms and lightning claimed around 800 lives in the country.
- India was only second to China in Asia. China suffered the highest economic loss in Asia ($18.4 billion) after flooding.
- Floods and storms accounted for 80 per cent of the natural disasters that struck Asia in 2021.
- Ocean warming could contribute to sea level rise, alter storm paths and ocean currents and increase stratification, the report warned.
- Upper-ocean warming is important because it directly affects the atmosphere in terms of convection, winds, cyclones etc.
- The deep ocean does not affect the atmosphere directly
- Warming is particularly strong in the Arabian Sea because it has pathways to receive excess heat through atmospheric tunnels and bridges. Mixed warm water from various oceans is pumped into it.
- These regions are warming more than three times faster than the global mean upper-ocean warming rate
- Kuroshio Current takes warm water from the tropics and stronger winds force more heat into the current.
- Excessive rainfall due to La Nina – During this time, the pressure patterns set up in India go from North to South, which drives circulations from Eurasia and China.
- Northeast monsoon rainfall experienced over southern peninsular India during the northeast monsoon was exceptionally above normal (171 per cent of the long-term average) and was the highest (579.1 millimetre) since 1901.
- ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Reports of 2021 and 2022 estimated that India would need an annual investment in adaptation measures at $46.3 billion, equal to 1.7 per cent of India’s GDP
- Areas that require high investment include resilient infrastructure, improving dry land agriculture, resilient water infrastructure, multi-hazard early warning systems, nature-based solutions and protecting mangroves.
- India does not have a separate adaptation fund, but the money is embedded in several schemes by the agriculture, rural and environmental sectors.
- Flagship projects like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme, which had an annual budget of $13 billion in 2020, should address adaptation in disaster-prone areas. Around 70 per cent of its budget is marked to go into natural resource management and to build resilient infrastructure.
Previous Year Question
Q.1) In the South Atlantic and South-Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes, cyclone does not originate. What is the reason? (2015)
- Sea surface temperatures are low
- Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs
- Coriolis force is too weak
- Absence of land in those regions