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Updated February 29th, 2024 at 13:48 IST

90 percent of Himalayan Region at Risk of Year-Long Drought due to Climate Change, Says Study

The research, comprising eight studies focusing on countries including India, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Himalayas
Himalayas | Image:AP
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New research highlights the alarming consequences of escalating global warming, particularly for the fragile Himalayan region, where about 90% of the area could face prolonged droughts lasting over a year if temperatures rise by 3 degrees Celsius.

Published in the journal Climatic Change, the study conducted by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK underscores the urgent need for ambitious climate action to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change.

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What does the study reveal?

The findings reveal that adhering to the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, which aim to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, could significantly mitigate the risks posed by climate change. In India, for instance, up to 80% of increased human exposure to heat stress could be avoided by adhering to the 1.5-degree Celsius warming limit compared to a scenario of 3 degrees Celsius warming.

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Here is what you need to know

The research, comprising eight studies focusing on countries including India, Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana, illustrates the multifaceted risks associated with climate change. From droughts and floods to declines in crop yields and loss of biodiversity, each additional degree of global warming exacerbates the threats to human and natural systems.

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In India, the impact of global warming on pollination is stark, with a projected reduction by half at 3-4 degrees Celsius warming compared to just a quarter reduction at 1.5 degrees Celsius. Similarly, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could provide vital refuge for biodiversity, with half of the country serving as potential sanctuaries, compared to a mere 6% at 3 degrees Celsius.

Agricultural lands across the studied countries face significant exposure to severe droughts under 3 degrees Celsius warming, with over 50% of agricultural land projected to experience droughts lasting longer than a year over a 30-year period. However, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could substantially reduce this exposure by up to 61% in countries like Ethiopia.

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Curbing global warming is crucial 

The study emphasizes the urgent need for concerted efforts to curb global warming, as current policies are on track to result in 3 degrees Celsius of warming. It calls for expanded protected area networks to safeguard biodiversity and underscores the critical role of climate-resilient conservation strategies in the face of escalating climate risks.

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As the world grapples with the mounting challenges of climate change, the research serves as a clarion call for ambitious and immediate action to protect vulnerable regions like the Himalayas from the dire consequences of unchecked global warming.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published February 29th, 2024 at 13:43 IST

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