Hyderabad, India: The Seminar on Climate Change Implications on Socio-Economic Development, chaired by Dr K J Ramesh, Advisor & Scientist ‘G’, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, at Geospatial World Forum 2011, saw some interesting discussion on the need to understand the climate changes and its possible impact on the development process. Giving the keynote address Jyoti Parikh, Member PM Council on Climate Change, talked about application of GIS in different sectors like environment, agriculture, hydrology, land use, geology, forestry, risk management and water/ waste water industry. GIS could be used to help improve issues like disaster risk mitigation. The technology would be of a great advantage to policy makers in risk assessment and vulnerability mapping, among others.
Air Vice Marshall Ajit Tyagi, Director General of Indian Meteorological Department, talked of observed climate variability and change. He said the GIS will synergise information from different departments to seamlessly be used for the benefit of the mankind. He said that the IMD was going to expand the observation from present district-level to block level. He elaborated upon the new thrust in environment monitoring, green house gases, precipitation chemistry, ozone layer and environment impact assessment. He pointed out that there was a significant change in the occurrences of extreme events in the past few years, but there was no conclusive evidence that it was a result of the climate change. In response to a question he agreed that there was a need to harmonise some data in view of the change in situation around the observatories.
Dr Subodh Sharma, Advisor, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, spoke on the Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment and said that it was a step towards a comprehensive climate change assessment. He outlined the objectives of the INCCA and called for strengthening of GIS in response to the challenges of information gathering in climate change. He said that there was a need to take stock of the ground realities and move to consolidate the information on a long term.
NVV Raghava, Senior Infrastructure Specialist and Project Team Leader, National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project of the World Bank in India spoke on the Climate Change Initiatives, Priorities and Implications for India. He said Climate Change is a public concern. Poverty reduction and sustainable development is a high priority, he noted and said that climate change is likely to make development more difficult. He said that there is substantial uncertainty around the impact of climate change on ecology and economy. The World Bank is undertaking largely analytic activity, but has also taken up ground level projects like the Andhra Pradesh Drought Adaptation Pilot Project apart from Disaster Risk Management Project. It has for the first time taken up funding of Nation Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, Raghava noted.
R Krishnan, Head of the Centre for Climate Change Research, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, India elaborated on some of the modeling on climate change scenarios. He said that his Centre was working on developing models to understand the climate change scenarios and said that there was a greater probability that human intervention coupled with natural climate change was responsible for the widespread climate changes that were being witnessed. He took pains to elaborate that the modeling by his centre was on a long-term and that they were not into short-term predictions of synoptic variations. The Centre was simultaneously working on developing of a comprehensive Earth System Model while it was developing models to understand the climate changes. He discussed the importance of factoring variants like aerosol and chemical transport, biogeochemistry modules and sea-ice modules for greater fidelity. Their high resolution model was able to study some of the variations in the climate change. The modeling was essential as it would form the basis of all socio-economic development policy formulations of the Government, KJ Ramesh explained.
Dr AK Singh, Deputy Director General of Indian Council for Agricultural Research, Government of India, spoke on the implications of climate change on Indian agriculture. Any effect of climate change on agriculture has far-reaching implications as it has more than 50 per cent of the population dependent on it directly or indirectly, he noted. Talking on the wide variation in precipitation and increasing occurrence of extreme events, he stressed on the need for looking at alternatives like traditional wisdom, and or some discarded more resistant varieties of plants to enhance the crop productivity. There was need to draw up contingency plans and emergency response systems, he said. The ICAR had already taken up GIS-based germplasm mapping, he explained. He said that Indian agriculture has proved to be highly resilient despite the highly erratic precipitation in the recent years.
Dr CBS Dutt of the National Remote Sensing Centre, Government of India talked of the ISRO’s role in the study of climate change. He said that the ISRO was instrumental in providing first hand information of the parameters of climate change like aerosols and ozone layer among others. He said ISRO was validating its satellite data with ground-level readings from its network of observatories.
Dr Padmanabhan, Emergency Analyst, United Nations Development Programme in India, talked about the Climate Change and Risk Management. He said that risk management has to be a community based programme and talked of the possible impact of climate change on the development programmes. He called for reducing vulnerability to climate change impacts and increased resilience to climate change. He stressed the need or adaptation to include early warning preparedness.
Source: Our correspondent