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State of the Climate in Asia 2022

State of the Climate in Asia 2022

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2023

Climate in Asia 2022

Extreme weather and climate change impacts are increasing in Asia, which ricocheted between droughts and floods in 2022, ruining lives and destroying livelihoods. Melting ice and glaciers and rising sea levels threaten more socio-economic disruption in future, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

Asia, the continent with the largest land mass extending to the Arctic, is warming faster than the global average. The warming trend in Asia in 1991–2022 was almost double the warming trend in the 1961–1990 period, according to the WMO State of the Climate in Asia 2022 report.

There were 81 weather, climate and water-related disasters in Asia in 2022, of which over 83% were flood and storm events. More than 5 000 people lost their lives, more than 50 million people were directly affected and there were more than US$ 36 billion in economic damages, according to the report. In addition, a large part of arid Asia experienced severe dust storms. Several severe dust storm events in western Asia affected civil lives in the region.

“This report summarizes the state of the climate and the extreme events and their socioeconomic impacts in Asia in 2022. In 2022, many areas in Asia experienced drier-than-normal conditions and drought. China, in particular, suffered prolonged drought conditions, which affected water availability and the power supply. The estimated economic losses from the drought affecting many regions in China were over US$ 7.6 billion. Pakistan, by contrast suffered disastrous flooding,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“Most glaciers in the High Mountain Asia region suffered from intense mass loss as a result of exceptionally warm and dry conditions in 2022. This will have major implications for future food and water security and ecosystems,” he said.

The report, one of a series of WMO regional State of the Climate reports, was released during a meeting of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The United Nations Secretary-General’s “Executive Action Plan on Early Warnings for All,” co-led in implementation by WMO and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), is more critical in Asia, which is the world’s most disaster-impacted region and where the effects of transboundary climate-related disasters are on the rise,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

The report is accompanied by an interactive story map, with a special focus on agriculture and food security. The expected increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events over much of Asia will impact agriculture, which is central to all climate adaptation planning.

“Impact-based forecasting, early warnings for all, and their translation into anticipatory action are examples of the transformative adaptation needed to strengthen the resilience of food systems in Asia,” said Ms. Salsiah Alisjahbana

The mean temperature over Asia for 2022 was the second or third warmest on record and was about 0.72 °C above the 1991–2020 average. The 1991–2020 average was itself about 1.68 °C above the WMO 1961–1990 reference period for climate change.

Drought affected many parts of the region, reducing water availability. The economic losses in 2022 as a result of the drought in China, for example, were estimated to exceed US$ 7.6 billion.

Severe flooding hit Pakistan, causing significant loss of life and economic damage. Pakistan received 60% of its normal total monsoon rainfall within just three weeks of the start of the monsoon season in 2022. According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), more than 33 million people, almost 14% of Pakistan’s 2022 population, were affected.

Glaciers in the High Mountain Asia region have lost significant mass over the past 40 years, and the loss is accelerating. In 2022, exceptionally warm and dry conditions exacerbated the mass loss for most glaciers. Urumqi Glacier No. 1 in the eastern Tien Shan recorded the second highest negative mass balance of -1.25 metre water equivalent since measurements began in 1959.

The ocean. The region shows an overall surface ocean warming trend since the time series began in 1982. In the north-western Arabian Sea, the Philippine Sea and the seas east of Japan, the warming rates exceed 0.5 °C per decade, which is about three times faster than the global average surface ocean warming rate.

Record-breaking winds and heavy rainfall associated with Typhoon Nanmadol were observed in several stations in Japan in September. Nanmadol was associated with five reported deaths, affected over 1 300 people, and caused estimated economic damages in excess of US$ 2 billion.

According to the International Disaster Database (EM-DAT), in 2022, 81 natural hazard events were reported in Asia; of these, over 83% were flood and storm events. These events led to over 5 000 fatalities, 90% of which were associated with flooding. Overall, natural hazard events directly impacted more than 50 million people and resulted in over US$ 36 billion in damages.

Economic losses in 2022 due to disasters relating to floods exceeded the average for the 2002–2021 period. The most significant losses of this type were in Pakistan (over US$ 15 billion), followed by China (over US$ 5 billion), and India (over US$ 4.2 billion). Economic losses in 2022 associated with droughts were the next largest category, causing US$ 7.6 billion in damages (mainly in China); this exceeds 2002–2021 average (US$ 2.6 billion) by nearly 200%.

Enhancing food system resilience is a high priority in Asia, as was emphasized in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of most of the parties to the Paris Agreement in WMO Members in the Regional Association II. Monitoring the past and current climate and providing forecasts on weather and climate timescales are fundamental tools underpinning effective early warning services for agriculture and food security.

The World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System’s authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water

Source Link: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate/Asia-2022

Climate Change 2023 Synthesis Report

Climate Change 2023 Synthesis Report

Last Updated: 20 March 2023

Climate Change 2023

The much-anticipated Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report is based on years of work by hundreds of scientists during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) sixth assessment cycle which began in 2015.

The report provides the main scientific input to COP28 and the Global Stocktake at the end of this year, when countries will review progress towards the Paris Agreement goals.

The report reiterates that humans are responsible for all global heating over the past 200 years leading to a current temperature rise of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels, which has led to more frequent and hazardous weather events that have caused increasing destruction to people and the planet. The report reminds us that every increment of warming will come with more extreme weather events.

The report outlines that the 1.5°C limit is still achievable and outlines the critical action required across sectors and by everyone at all levels. The report focuses on the critical need for action that considers climate justice and focuses on climate resilient development. It outlines that by sharing best practices, technology, effective policy measures, and mobilising sufficient finance, any community can decrease or prevent the usage of carbon-intensive consumption methods. The biggest gains in well-being can be achieved by prioritizing climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalized communities.

Source Link: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/

State of the Global Climate 2022

State of the Global Climate 2022

Last Updated:  21 April 2023

Global Climate 2022

The WMO State of the Global Climate report 2022 focuses on key climate indicators – greenhouse gases, temperatures, sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification, sea ice and glaciers. It also highlights the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.

Drought, floods and heatwaves affect large parts of the world and the costs are rising
Global mean temperatures for the past 8 years have been the highest on record
Sea level and ocean heat are at record levels – and this trend will continue for many centuries
Antarctic sea ice falls to lowest extent on record
Europe shatters records for glacier melt
From mountain peaks to ocean depths, climate change continued its advance in 2022. Droughts, floods and heatwaves affected communities on every continent and cost many billions of dollars. Antarctic sea ice fell to its lowest extent on record and the melting of some European glaciers was, literally, off the charts.

The State of the Global Climate 2022 shows the planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. For global temperature, 2015-2022 were the eight warmest on record despite the cooling impact of a La Niña event for the past three years. Melting of glaciers and sea level rise – which again reached record levels in 2022 – will continue for up to thousands of years.

“While greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the climate continues to change, populations worldwide continue to be gravely impacted by extreme weather and climate events. For example, in 2022, continuous drought in East Africa, record breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heatwaves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.

“However, collaboration amongst UN agencies has proven to be very effective in addressing humanitarian impacts induced by extreme weather and climate events, especially in reducing associated mortality and economic losses. The UN Early Warnings for All Initiative aims to fill the existing capacity gap to ensure that every person on earth is covered by early warning services. At the moment about one hundred countries do not have adequate weather services in place. Achieving this ambitious task requires improvement of observation networks, investments in early warning, hydrological and climate service capacities,” he said.

The new WMO report is accompanied by a story map, which provides information for policy makers on how the climate change indicators are playing out, and which also shows how improved technology makes the transition to renewable energy cheaper and more accessible than ever.

In addition to climate indicators, the report focuses on impacts. Rising undernourishment has been exacerbated by the compounded effects of hydrometeorological hazards and COVID-19, as well as of protracted conflicts and violence.

Throughout the year, hazardous climate and weather-related events drove new population displacement and worsened conditions for many of the 95 million people already living in displacement at the beginning of the year, according to the report.

The report also puts a spotlight on ecosystems and the environment and shows how climate change is affecting recurring events in nature, such as when trees blossom, or birds migrate.

The WMO State of the Global Climate report was released ahead of Earth Day 2023. Its key findings echo the message of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for Earth Day.

“We have the tools, the knowledge, and the solutions. But we must pick up the pace. We need accelerated climate action with deeper, faster emissions cuts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius. We also need massively scaled-up investments in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the crisis,” said Mr Guterres.

The WMO report follows the release of the State of the Climate in Europe report by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It complements the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment report, which includes data up to 2020.

Dozens of experts contribute to the report, including National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) and Global Data and Analysis Centers, as well as Regional Climate Centres, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW), the Global Cryosphere Watch and Copernicus Climate Change Service operated by ECMWF.

United Nations partners include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).


Source Link: https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate

Melting glaciers, water scarcity, exodus

Melting glaciers, water scarcity, exodus

Last Updated: September 12, 2022

Water Scarcity

Melting glaciers, water scarcity, exodus: How climate change reality is biting Ladakh villages

Global warming has been leading to melting glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Range, where Ladakh’s located. This has caused a water crisis in the region.

Kulum, Leh: “There’s no water,” said Sonam Chondol, an erstwhile resident of a ghost hamlet in Leh district, flatly.

“There’s no grass to feed our livestock, not enough to irrigate our fields. Why would we go back?”

Chondol, along with 6 other families from her village of Upper Kulum, decided to leave their homes over 10 years ago and migrate to the nearby town of Upshi — about 5 km away — for a better chance of securing their livelihoods.

Chondol set up a confectionary shop on the road that takes tourists towards the Puga hot springs, and ekes out a living from the footfall her shop receives.

Small as the number of residents that left is, the experience of water scarcity in Kulum has been enough to alarm Ladakh’s district authorities and NGOs, serving as a warning for what the future of the region could hold if measures to mitigate climate change are not immediately put in place.

Like most of Ladakh, Kulum is glacier-fed, depending on the water that dribbles down the mountains from snowmelt.

But over the last few decades, the source of this water has been waning because of global heating.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Region — in which Ladakh is located — is also called the third pole because of the volume of glacial ice it stores.

These glaciers, which are the source of 10 major river systems, are warming much faster than the global average.

Shakeel ul Rahman is a sub-divisional officer of agriculture in Leh district working on increasing climate-resilient agriculture in the region to cope with changes in the water supply.

“There is a lot of stress on Ladakh’s water sources, and the melting or erosion of glaciers is going to become a huge challenge.

If we don’t act now, there will be more out-migration, more abandoned villages,” he told ThePrint, gazing at Leh’s snow-capped peaks from his office window.

An exodus

The most obvious sign of global warming in Ladakh is the changing face of the mountains themselves.

Seventy-three-year-old Tsering Angchuk, who also abandoned his home in Upper Kullum, pointed to his shins, just below his knee, and said: “More than 15-20 years ago, when it snowed, it would come up to here.

But now, it’s barely a few inches. The mountains barely have any snow on them”.

Tsering Angchuk in his village, Kullum, in Ladakh | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Tsering Angchuk in his village, Kulum, in Ladakh | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Angchuk is not mistaken. Scientists have recorded a retreat in both snowfall and glacial mass in Ladakh over the last few decades.

Snowmelt and rainfall in the months of March and April would irrigate their fields enough to sow barley, wheat, peas, and potatoes.

But with lower levels of snowfall, the sowing season has gone awry.

“We have observed that snowmelt is happening much earlier, and so the peak of discharge is happening in spring, leading to a shortage in the summer season.

There’s also a reduction in soil moisture, which can cause springs to dry,” Dr. Anil Kulkarni, a glaciologist and distinguished scientist at the Indian Institute of Science, told ThePrint.

Angchuk says he’s the first to have led the exodus from Upper Kulum in 2012, two years after the devastating cloudburst of 2010 damaged part of a glacier-fed spring supplying their village with water, eventually leading it to dry up.

The lack of spring water and the shift in the monsoon season towards the winter made agriculture completely unviable, he said.

But even within the range of a few kilometers, topography in the village varies greatly. In Lower Kulum, a settlement of four households about a kilometre-and-a-half downstream of Upper Kulum, residents are slightly better off.

The spring supplying Lower Kulum with water hasn’t fully dried up yet, allowing for some subsistence farming.

“We didn’t leave because we could manage with whatever little water we got from the spring. But it has been increasingly difficult.

We don’t have as much of a yield as we did before 2010,” said Urgan Chosdol, a resident of Lower Kulum.

Climate resilience and adaptation

In the neighboring village of Igoo, concerns about water scarcity are mounting.

“The water flow is erratic. The glacier that supplies our village has reduced a lot in size.

Water that used to flow till September has now waned around mid-August,” Tsering Gurmet, a village leader, told ThePrint, adding: “It rains at odd times, which makes farming difficult”.

A 2016 study by scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) found that climatic changes in Leh showed a “warming trend” with varied precipitation that suggests “overall the region is receiving more rainfall than the arid region is used to”.

According to Tashi Nurbu, another resident of the village, a 20-year-old scheme created small bunds or dams below the glacier supplying the village with water, which caused sheets of ice to freeze, creating a reservoir.

This ice reservoir, Nurbu said, supplied water even in the summer months, but the bunds broke some years ago.

“This dam system should be rebuilt because it really helped keep the supply of water regular when we need it the most, After it broke, the ice hasn’t formed like it used to,” he said.

Tashi Nurbu (right), Tsering Gurmat and Sonam Phunchok at Igoo | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Tsering Gurmet (L), Sonam Phunchok (C), Tashi Nurbu (R) in Igoo village | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

The idea of creating a reservoir of ice up in the mountains — called an artificial glacier — is credited to Chewang Norphel, a civil engineer who invented the model in the 1980s after observing how droplets of water from a tap froze once they hit the ground.

A newer prototype, called an ice stupa, was pioneered by engineer Sonam Wangchuk in 2013.

The conical shape of the glacier means less surface area is exposed to the sun, further regulating the water downstream.

The ice stupa consists of a pipe that draws water from a glacier or stream and is taken to a suitable location at an elevation.

There, water is slowly released through a sprinkler, which forms a base of ice. As the water continues to be sprayed, the ice builds and builds, till it resembles a vertical glacier.

This glacier is designed to melt through the early summer months, to make up for the shortfall in recent decades.

In 2019, this model was implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs alongside Wangchuk’s organisation, the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) in Lower Kulum.

“We tried it in 2019, but it failed because we made it too close to the village and it melted away too quickly.

We were only successful this winter, in 2022. It takes a lot of trial and error, and to make the stupa we had to trek 5- 6 kilometers uphill from here where temperatures are lower and the ice can properly form,” said Chosdol.

Though the intervention has been found to mitigate the effects of water scarcity, it is expensive and high maintenance, prone to pipes getting jammed due to freezing temperatures.

It has also given rise to other unforeseen consequences — in the village of Phayang, for example,  20 km away from Leh, the diversion of water to form an ice stupa led to resource conflicts with a neighbouring village.

Earlier this year, Leh’s agriculture department decided to implement a scheme called the Special Development Package in Lower Kullum, which includes installing a solar-powered borewell to draw groundwater for micro irrigation — technology that Rahman says was not necessary till recently.

Micro irrigation involves methods that use less water, through drippers, sprinklers, and foggers.

“Initially, the residents were skeptical about whether micro irrigation will work, but this year they have grown a good amount of potatoes and summer squash.

Villagers in Upper Kullum are also now considering letting us implement it there,” Rahman told ThePrint, who added that the scheme would be implemented in a dozen other villages.

Lowering emissions

Despite its vulnerability to climate change, weather and climate data from the Ladakh region has been limited, says Dr. Subrat Sharma, head of the regional GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment, which opened in Ladakh only 3 years ago.

“Instrumental evidence of climate change has been very little in this area, but there is other, indirect evidence of climate change in the region, like the increasing frequency of cloud bursts,” he told ThePrint.

Sonam Chondol (left)and Dechen Spaldon at their Shop in Upshi village | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Sonam Chondol (L) with her niece Dechen Spaldon at their shop in Upshi | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

Average temperatures across the globe have warmed up by 1.1 degrees celsius since pre-industrial times, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent reports.

Efforts across the world are on to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius —  at which point Ladakh, which is especially vulnerable to climate change, is likely to warm up by 2.23 degrees.

At such temperatures, weather patterns are likely to change even more dramatically than they already have, scientific evidence suggests.

“There will be a lifespan to interventions like artificial glaciers. We need more scientific scrutiny to see in which conditions they will succeed and fail,” said Kulkarni, adding: “The elephant in the room here is greenhouse gas emissions. The only permanent solution is to cut emissions”.

For Angchuk, moving back to Upper Kullum — where houses and fields lie abandoned — will take a lot of convincing, even if irrigation schemes and artificial glaciers help the flow of water along.

“Will the water really come? I didn’t even know about borewells until recently. They say they will install it. Maybe I’ll consider moving back if it works,” he said.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Source Link: https://theprint.in/india/melting-glaciers-water-scarcity-exodus-how-climate-change-reality-is-biting-ladakh-villages/1123797/

Cabinet gives post facto approval to pact with International Renewable Energy Agency

Cabinet gives post facto approval to pact with International Renewable Energy Agency

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Renewable Energy Agency

The aim of the Agreement is to drive ambition, leadership and knowledge on green energy transitions based on renewable energy in India.

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave post facto approval to the strategic partnership agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which will help India in green energy transition.

“The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was apprised of a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA),” an official statement said.

According to the statement, the Agreement was signed in January 2022.

The aim of the Agreement is to drive ambition, leadership and knowledge on green energy transitions based on renewable energy in India.

It also stated that the Union Cabinet has approved the strategic partnership agreement.

The Agreement will help India’s energy transition efforts and will also help the world in combating climate change.

The areas of cooperation as envisaged in the Strategic Partnership Agreement will support India in achieving its ambitious target of 500 GW of installed non-fossil fuel electricity capacity by 2030.

This in-turn will promote Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The salient features of the agreement include enhanced cooperation in the areas such as facilitating knowledge sharing from India on scaling-up renewable energy and clean energy technologies.

It will also support India’s efforts on long-term energy planning and collaborate to strengthen the innovation climate in India.

The pact will also focus on moving towards cost-effective decarbonisation through catalysing development and deployment of green hydrogen.

Thus, it stated that the Strategic Partnership Agreement will help India’s energy transition efforts and will also help the world in combating climate change.

Source Link: https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2022/jun/29/cabinet-gives-post-facto-approval-to-pact-with-international-renewable-energy-agency-2471108.html

New study traces how climate change affects extreme weather around the world

New study traces how climate change affects extreme weather around the world

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Extreme Weather

Nagpur: Large gaps still exist when it comes to attributing extreme weather events to climate change, reveal researchers. A study by researchers from the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and the Victoria University of Wellington reviewed the impact of five different types of extreme weather events, and to what degree these damaging events could be attributed to human-induced climate change. According to their findings, which were released on Tuesday in the first issue of academic journal ‘Environmental Research: Climate’, attribution science has led to major advances in linking the impact of extreme weather and human-induced climate change, but large gaps in the published research still conceal the full extent of climate change damage. Researchers combined information from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, and results from a fast increasing body of attribution studies — where weather observations and climate models are used to determine the role that climate change played in specific weather events. They observed that for some extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, the link with climate change is clear and unequivocal across the world, and that the extent of the impact is likely being underestimated by insurers, economists and governments. However, for others, such as tropical cyclones, the study shows that important differences exist between regions and the role that climate change plays in each event is more variable than for heatwaves. “The rise of more extreme and intense weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and heavy rainfall have dramatically increased in recent years, affecting people all over the globe. Understanding the role that climate change plays in these events can help us better prepare for them. It also allows us to determine the real cost that carbon emissions have in our lives,” says lead author of the study, Ben Clarke from the University of Oxford. The researchers also highlighted an urgent need for more data from lower and middle-income countries, where the impact of climate change is more strongly felt. “Research on these impacts is hampered when national weather data is not publicly available — examples include South Africa, where corruption denies funds to weather reporting facilities, leading to huge data gaps in an otherwise good network; drought-prone Somalia, where disorderly regime changes have disrupted measurements; and many countries, such as Poland, where weather data is only available for a high fee, and thus generally not for publicly funded research,” the study stated. Stating that a comprehensive overview or detailed inventory of what impact climate change is having today is still missing, co-author Friederike Otto from the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London, said, “We do now have the tools and advanced understanding to create such an inventory, but these need to be applied more evenly across the world to improve our understanding in areas where evidence is lacking. Otherwise we are denying countries the knowledge to make the best use of sparse funds and improve chances for people to live safely and adapt to the changing climate.” BOX IN A NUTSHELL Attribution science links impact of extreme weather and human-induced climate change Clear link between heatwaves and climate change Extent of impact being underestimated by insurers, economists and governments For tropical cyclones, role of climate change more variable Studies could help understand role of climate change, prepare better, and determine real cost of carbon emissions Data lacking from lower and middle-income countries, where impact of climate change is more strongly felt.

Source Link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/new-study-traces-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world/articleshow/92528744.cms