Every one of us is living in a world of technology. Humans have explored things from Earth's interior to celestial bodies. We have found water evidence, gases, and microorganisms on other planets. But there are some phenomena of our Milky Way that humans are still not in a position of control, such as solar radiation, volcanic eruptions etc. These all are only nature-driven. But these phenomena affect our lives on a daily basis in the form of climate change.
Now the question arises what is climate and what does the change in it mean?
What is Climate?
Have you ever listened to the weather updates on TV or any other media platform? Surely, you have. We all come across weather bulletins for the temperature and rainfall updates of our city or states each day.
But our TV screens never bear headlines like climate bulletins. Why is it so?
Because the climate of a region is its average weather over a long period of time, like many hundred years, whereas the weather is the daily changes in temperature, pressure and humidity of a region. For example, Antarctica-type climate and New Delhi's today weather updates.
Now comes the question of a change in the climate.
What is Climate Change?
The long-term change in the average weather of a region is known as climate change.
A change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean or/and the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period (IPCC,2018). Hence, climate change is a shift in the weather parameters in any direction. It can be towards minimum or towards maximum. But in the present industrialised world, climate change refers to an increase in temperature. Though the direction was not the same in the past when our planet was also like an icy cold body.
Cause responsible for Climate Change:
As we have already discussed, there are some phenomena which can not be controlled or modified by humans, known as natural factors for climate change, whereas some factors are the product of anthropogenic activities.
The natural factors are:
Solar radiation, volcanic eruptions, continental drift, evolution and growth of biota etc.
Man-made factors are :
Agricultural activities, population growth, industries, deforestation etc.
Consequences of climate change:
Rising sea levels across the world result in danger for coastal areas.
Storm trajectory is becoming unpredictable due to which more loss of lives is occurring.
Global temperature will continue to rise between 1.8°C to 4°C by 2100 (Solomon,2007)
12000 square kilometres of forest per year between 1980 and 1995 have been lost due to temperature rise.
The groundwater level is going down each year, leading to scarcity of drinking water in many parts of the world.
Impact on India's Rain Pattern:
India is among the world's most vulnerable regions due to rising temperature because of its long coastal territory and huge glaciers in the north. India's rain pattern is unique in the world, and it is typically known as monsoon or, more specifically, southwest monsoon. This southwest monsoon contributes around 70%of the country's total rainfall.
Climate change is impacting the Indian Monsoon directly as follows:
More localised and heavier rain than before in the very short span of time is becoming a common pattern of rain in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and many North Eastern regions.
According to IPCC, India's summer monsoon rainfall decreased by 6% over the past 60 years.
Uneven rainfall over time and across regions leads to more dry spells, and the number of rainy days is decreasing.
Rising temperature evaporates more water and leads to depletion of soil moisture. It will result in food scarcity.
Heat waves in more populated areas are becoming a reason for concern.
Monsoon circulation has also been weakening since the 1950s in regions like western ghats.
According to an IPCC report, the risk of flooding is increased by 40% in India as more cyclones form in the Arabian sea than before.
Climate change in India has also affected the crop yield. Due to erratic nature of monsoon,farmers are attempting suicide because they are not able to earn from crop yield.
Climate crisis in Northeast India due to change in the rainfall pattern.
According to the ministry of environment forest and climate change, temperature in the region will rise by 2.1°C by the end of 2030.
Steps taken by government of India:
Between 1870-2019, India's emission added a very little percentage of only 4% to the total global emission. But even then our government has set an example for the industrialised countries like the USA by leading the battle against climate change.
India is signatory to Sustainable development goals 2030 and working tirelessly for achieving them.
India has shown its commitment by announcing its net zero emission target by 2070.
In COP26, held in 2022, India has announced PANCHAMRITA, a five point agenda to counter the rising temperature.
Other national missions like the National Solar Mission are also achieving great heights.
But the climate change giant is so powerful that it needs much more effort so that we can assure not only the welfare of existing but also the security of future generations. Some more efforts that can be done are:
•) e-vehicles should be affordable and accessible to each and everyone so that emissions can be reduced.
•) Population should be controlled so that carbon footprints can be minimised.
•) Renewable energy generation must be the priority of governments.