IPCC Sixth Assessment Reports and Implications for South Asia

The Sixth Assessment Report (AR 6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underlined that the impact on South Asia is serious. Air pollution has reduced the intensity as well as frequency of monsoon rains in India and the rest of south Asia. Air pollution has increased over the Indian subcontinent and it acts as a barrier and reduces the difference of temperature between sea surface and land. This provides a cooling effect and reduces monsoon intensity. Cyclone Yaas is a tell-tale example of compound extremes such as high intensity cyclonic wind, rising sea level, more intense rainfall.

WORKING GROUP I (The Physical Science Basis) 

For South Asia specifically, the Report released on 9 August 2021 warns of increased heat extremes and decreased cold extremes with these trends continuing over the coming decades. Glacier runoff in the Asian high mountains will increase up to mid-21st century, and subsequently runoff may decrease due to the loss of glacier storage. Relative sea level around Asia has increased faster than global average, causing severe coastal erosion. Heatwaves and humid heat stress will be more intense and frequent during the 21st century. While in the near-term, South and Southeast Asian monsoon precipitation will be dominated by the effects of internal variability, in the long-term, South and Southeast Asian monsoon and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation will increase. 

WORKING GROUP II (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) 

The 2022 IPCC report released on 28 February 2022 details that South Asia and particularly India is already facing increased risks due to rising extreme weather events such as floods,landslides, and droughts, cyclones, heatwaves and cold waves, and a rising sea level. The dense population and low house-hold income in the region will raise the vulnerability and risk. Overall, South Asia is among the most vulnerable regions in the world when it comes to severe climate impacts due to extreme poverty and inequity. A spike in heavy rain events and temperature will increase the risk of diarrheal diseases, dengue fever and malaria in tropical and sub-tropical Asia.

WORKING GROUP III (Mitigation of Climate Change)

The latest instalment of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, released on 4 April 2022, shows that we are absolutely not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C. A large coastal population, high levels of heat exposure and risk of concurrent flood and drought incidents places India among the countries most vulnerable to climate change. The report identifies large scale displacement, a 11-20% increase in the number of people at risk of hunger, and infrastructural and other losses as some consequences. It also states that the impacts of climate change could result in a loss of 2% of GDP in South Asian countries by 2050. The IPCC report provides ample evidence that Indian women will disproportionately bear the impacts of climate change.

Deciphering the IPCC Report 2021 for South Asia

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Poster-for-webinar-1-1200x489.jpg