Rising temperature to hit wheat production in India, says report

May 9th, 2012 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The annual mean temperature in India is expected to rise by 3.5-4.3 degrees Celsius by 2098, badly impacting production of wheat - a major grain crop - and increasing malaria outbreak, according to India’s submission to the United Nations (UN) released here Wednesday.

India’s second national communication to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) projects climate change impacts for key sectors like water, agriculture, forestry, natural ecosystems, costal regions, human health and other during 1961-2098 using computer generated models.

It analyses basic parameters like rainfall, surface air temperature and mean sea level pressure to get climatic projections towards the end of the present century.

“The simulation for the period indicates an all-round warming over the Indian subcontinent. The annual mean surface air temperature rise by the end of the century ranges from 3.5-4.3 degree Celsius,” it projected.

The magnitude of the impact of climate change on wheat in India indicated that an increase in one degrees Celsius in mean temperature, would not cause any significant loss, if simple adaptation strategies such as change in planting date and varieties are used.

“The benefits of such strategies, however, gradually decrease as temperature increases to 5 degrees Celsius and this could lead to 27.5 million tonnes of wheat production annually by the end of century,” it said.

India’s wheat production for year 2011-12 was 88.31 million tonnes. So losing 27.5 million tonnes annually would be more than one fourth of current production.

Production of crops like cotton, potato and short season crops such as vegetables, fruits are also likely decrease with rising temperature and altered pattern of precipitation.

On the impact of climate change on human health, the communications says that malaria outbreak is likely to increase in northern states and some region of southern India especially Karnataka.

It says that climate change and climate variability on the water resources are likely to affect irrigated agriculture, installed power capacity, environment flows in dry seasons and higher flows during the wet season, thereby causing severe droughts and floods problems in urban and rural areas.

Forests in India are already subjected to multiple stresses like over-extraction, anthropogenic pressures and climate change will be an additional stress.

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