This post is modified from Upali Wickramasinghe’s article on Trade Insight Vol.6, No.3-4, 2010, p.43-45. severe flooding the united states has observed in over a century” “Most, is a heading that made an appearance in newspapers across the globe several times recently. Two most stunning recent good examples will be the floods in October 2009 in India and in mid-2010 in Pakistan. The number of such floods has quadrupled between 1980 and 2006. The intensity of other natural disasters such as heat waves and severe cold spells has increased manifold.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that climate change will have severe effects on South Asia. The 2010 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, published by the British company Maplecroft on the basis of 42 social, economic and environmental factors, corroborated this lately. South Parts of asia, independently as well as regionally, have made significant initiatives towards tackling the issues posed by global warming.
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The Himalaya ecological system, composed of top of the Himalaya glaciers and the Ganges, Indus, and Meghna river systems, was the cradle of civilization in South Asia. It allowed some 1.5 billion visitors to cultivate lands, rear animals and prosper. With climate change, this endless routine of life is likely to change itself apparently.
The Himalayan-Hindu Kush glaciers have been receding since 1800, however the speed has accelerated lately. If this pattern continues, melting snow will increase overflow risks in the short term and threaten water supplies over time. The effects are magnified because of the fact that 75 percent of the indegent live in rural areas and 60 percent of the labour push relies on agriculture for livelihood. The areas projected to handle severe impacts are the Terrai grasslands and forests of the southern Himalayas, the Western Ghats biosphere of western India; and the Sundarbans damp- lands of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
A reduction in moist rainforests and an increase in dry rainforests, prompting more forest fires in places like Sri Lanka, are projected to occur. The availability of water for individual agriculture and usage is a major concern. It is predicted a 2-4 percent rise in temperature will expose up to 924 million visitors to water stress. If climate-induced glacial retreat happens at the predicted rate, the water available from the Himalayan glaciers in South Asia will drop from the current level of 85 percent of total water consumption to 30 % over another 50 years.
By 2020, South Asia will have five of the world’s mega cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Dhaka, Kolkata and Karachi. Most the folks in those cities may also be residing in slums with little infrastructure and poor sanitation. Providing water to these mega metropolitan areas while allocating enough for agriculture will be a problem. Coastal ecosystems, particularly low-lying mega deltas, coastal regions and small islands, are in severe risk from climate change.