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India's Climate Mitigation Strategies for Food Security



  Sep 15, 2023

Climate Change and Food Security in India: A Detailed Overview


How does climate change impact food security in India, and what recent phenomena have highlighted this issue?

A1: Climate change is seen through a series of disruptive weather and climate phenomena in India, affecting the complex precipitation system.
For instance, the Western disturbance remained active late into the summer this year, affecting the southwest monsoon and causing widespread destruction in the western Himalaya and northern India.

These events have raised concerns regarding the sustainability and resilience of development projects in these regions, highlighting the urgent need to address climate change's impact on food security.
 

How do phenomena like El Niño and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) affect the monsoon and, consequently, agriculture in India?

A2: The El Niño phase of the quasi-periodic El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the IOD significantly influence the monsoon patterns in India. For instance, an intensifying El Niño phase can affect the southwest monsoon adversely.
However, a positive-phase IOD can sometimes balance the consequences, showcasing the intricate relationship between these phenomena and the monsoon, which has a direct impact on agriculture in India.
 

Can you provide examples of how climate phenomena affect water resources essential for agriculture in India?

A3: Climate phenomena significantly affect the green and blue water resources vital for agriculture. For instance, during the 2015-2016 El Niño year, soybean production in India declined by 28% compared to the average production between 2013 and 2022. Moreover, the northeast monsoon and the Western disturbance play crucial roles in replenishing blue water resources, which are essential for rabi crops sown in winter.
 

What are the potential consequences of climate change on food security in different regions of India?

A4: Different regions in India face varied impacts. Central India's highlands, including parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra, are emerging as climate change hotspots, critical for India's water, food, and ecological security.

These regions experience significant water stress, driven largely by rabi irrigation with blue water. Moreover, cities like Nagpur endure prolonged water stress, highlighting the urgent need to address climate change impacts in these regions to ensure food security.
 

What strategies are being adopted in India to mitigate the impact of climate change on food security?

A5: To mitigate climate change impacts on food security, India is focusing on reducing dependence on water-intensive crops and promoting the cultivation of millets, which are less water-intensive.

Moreover, the government is leveraging forecasts of phenomena like El Niño and their impact on the monsoon to benefit farmers through improved short-term weather forecasts and early warning systems.

Additionally, efforts are being made to manage dams and reservoirs more effectively to reduce the risk of flood disasters and ecological damage to aquatic ecosystems, thereby safeguarding food security in the face of climate change.

Definitions of the weather phenomena mentioned:

Western Disturbance:
A Western disturbance is an extratropical storm system originating in the Mediterranean region that brings moisture to the Indian subcontinent during the winter and spring seasons.
It plays a crucial role in India's winter rainfall and can sometimes extend into the summer, impacting weather patterns.

El Niño:

El Niño is a climate phenomenon characterized by the periodic warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
It can disrupt normal weather patterns worldwide, affecting rainfall and temperature patterns, including the Indian monsoon.

Northeast Monsoon:
The northeast monsoon is a seasonal wind pattern that brings rainfall to parts of India, especially the southeastern coast, during the post-monsoon period.
It is essential for replenishing water resources for agriculture and other purposes in this region.


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