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Accelerated Warming in the Indian Ocean: Impact on India



  Apr 30, 2024

Accelerated Warming in the Indian Ocean: Impact on India



1. What does accelerated warming mean for the Indian Ocean basin?

Accelerated warming refers to the rapid increase in the ocean’s temperatures, projected at a rate of 1.7°C to 3.8°C per century from 2020 to 2100. This trend leads to more severe weather conditions, extended marine heatwaves, and increased cyclone intensity.

2. How does the warming affect monsoon patterns in India?

The warming of the Indian Ocean influences the monsoon by altering the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a climate phenomenon affecting weather patterns. With the warming, extreme IOD events are expected to become more frequent, potentially altering the timing, intensity, and distribution of monsoon rains across India, impacting agriculture and water resources.

3. What are marine heatwaves and their impact on India?

Marine heatwaves are periods of abnormally high ocean temperatures that can last for days or months. These events lead to coral bleaching and the destruction of marine habitats, which affect fisheries crucial to India’s economy. Additionally, they facilitate the rapid intensification of cyclones that can hit India’s coastal regions, causing significant damage.

4. How does ocean warming contribute to sea level rise in India?

Warming leads to thermal expansion of seawater, which is a significant contributor to rising sea levels, threatening India’s extensive and densely populated coastal areas. The increased risk of flooding and erosion can lead to displacement of communities and damage to infrastructure.

5. What can be done to mitigate the impacts of warming on India?

Mitigating the impacts requires India to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in sustainable energy sources. Nationally, enhancing the climate resilience of infrastructure, improving disaster preparedness and response mechanisms, and implementing coastal zone management policies are vital. Collaborative international efforts to address climate change are also crucial for long-term mitigation.

6. What are the potential economic effects on India due to warming in the Indian Ocean?

The economic implications include disruptions in fishing, an important livelihood for coastal communities, and agriculture, particularly in monsoon-dependent regions. Increased frequency of extreme weather events like cyclones and floods can lead to higher costs in disaster response and recovery, as well as long-term economic disruptions.

7. How is India preparing for the expected changes in the Indian Ocean?

India is investing in improving its meteorological capabilities to better predict and respond to extreme weather events. The government is also promoting coastal rehabilitation projects and enhancing marine research to understand and mitigate the effects of marine heatwaves and other climatic phenomena.



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