Asian Rivers, Including India’s Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms

Asian Rivers, Including India's Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms
Asian Rivers, Including India's Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms
Asian Rivers, Including India's Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms
Asian Rivers, Including India's Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms

Asian Rivers, Including India’s Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms

Asian Rivers, Including India’s Ganga, to Experience Fewer But More Intense Tropical Storms. Image/PTI

A recent modeling study led by Newcastle University, UK, predicts that Asian rivers, including India’s Ganga, will experience fewer but more intense tropical storms in the future. According to the study, by the 2050s, tropical storms in the Ganga region could intensify by nearly 20% under a high emissions scenario. However, these storms are projected to become less frequent by over 50% in both the low-lying delta river basins of Ganga and Mekong.

Vulnerability of Low-Lying Delta Systems

Low-lying delta systems along the east coast of India, as well as those in Bangladesh and Vietnam, are highly vulnerable to tropical storms and the impacts of climate change. This vulnerability includes changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise, according to previous studies.

Assessing Infrastructure Resilience and Climate Adaptation

The study’s findings can help assess the resilience of critical infrastructure in densely populated river basins to tropical storms and inform climate adaptation strategies. These strategies are vital for safeguarding communities and minimizing damage to life, property, and infrastructure.

Characteristics of Tropical Storms

Tropical storms are formed when water vapor from tropical oceans leads to disturbances. These storms can sustain wind speeds of over 60 kilometers per hour (km/h) and cause intense rainfall. Globally, nearly 90 such storms form each year, often resulting in significant disasters upon making landfall. Tropical cyclones, which have wind speeds exceeding 120 km/h and originate in the North Indian Ocean (NIO), account for about 7% of cyclones globally. Most of them form in the Bay of Bengal.

Impact of Climate Change on Storm Activity

The study’s results align with findings in the Atlantic Basin, where researchers also project a decline in the overall frequency of tropical storms but an increase in the frequency of the most intense tropical cyclones. These intense storms have severe societal impacts, including high winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges leading to flooding.

Planning for Future Events

Quantifying changes in tropical storm activity due to climate change enables better planning and preparedness for future events. It is essential for developing effective disaster risk mitigation strategies and climate adaptation measures.

Statements from Study Authors

Study author Hayley Fowler, a professor of Climate Change Impacts at the university, emphasized the significance of quantifying these changes to improve planning for future events. Lead author Haider Ali stressed the importance of understanding changes in tropical storm activity under climate change for better disaster risk mitigation and climate adaptation efforts.

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