M A I N   N E W S

The climate is changing
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27
Perhaps it is the first time that India’s meteorological department has openly acknowledged that climate change is indeed a reality in the country and that rising temperatures, floods in Barmer and Mumbai and drought in the northwest are some indicators of perceptible climate change in the country.

According to the department, it is also now time to identify critical zones in the country, which are prone to extreme salinisation and highly variable rainfall like Punjab and Haryana and come up with suitable area-wise adaptation strategies.

Which is why climate change and developing suitable adaptation strategy, besides upgrading agro-meteorological services for farmers to deal with risks and uncertainties, is one of the thrust areas of the International Workshop on Agrometeorological Risk Management, currently on in the Capital.

Agro-meteorological expert M.V.K. Sivakumar, Chief of the Agricultural Meteorology Division of the World Meteorological Organisation, told The Tribune today that it was time to recognise the issue of climate change in the country and develop suitable adaptation strategies for different areas, particularly ones that were prone to extreme salinisation and experienced highly variable rainfall.

Over the years, the government has invested heavily in developing irrigation facilities in the country, thereby making the dependence of agriculture on rainfall less. However, a large chunk of semi-arid land that country is dominated with, still remains vulnerable to weather and climate change, making it now important to understand crop response to enhanced temperatures and rainfall variability, particularly in areas prone to salinisation like Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa. The country needs to develop its agro-meteorological services to reduce risks and uncertainties and devise adaptation strategies to deal with climate change.

“For a unique eco-system like India having enormous range of agro-climates, suitable agrometeorological adaptation strategies for climate variability and climate change are a must, especially for those vulnerable regions where food and fibre production is most sensitive and vulnerable to climactic fluctuations,” he said.

Climate being a natural resource vital to the country’s well-being, health and prosperity, the crop yield response to climate change is now a documented fact. Which is why, to deal with climate change, whether it occurs now or years down the line, the country needs a suitable mechanism in place to help decision makers and users plan and adapt activities and projects to expected conditions.

In this way, decisions can be taken in planning to reduce risks and optimise socio-economic benefits by taking steps like changing varieties, he said.



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