By: Prof. R K Yadav, Deptt of Genetics and Plant Breeding C.S. Azad Univ. of Agril. & Tech. Kanpur & Executive Editor-ICN Group
KANPUR: Climate change has a serious impact on the availability of various resources on the earth especially water, which sustains life on this planet. Changes in the biosphere, biodiversity and natural resources are adversely affecting human health and quality of life.
Throughout the 21st century, India is projected to experience warming above global level. India will also begin to experience more seasonal variation in temperature with more warming in the winters than summers. Longevity of heat waves across India has extended in recent years with warmer night temperatures and hotter days, and this trend is expected to continue.
The average temperature change is predicted to be 2.33°C-4.78°C with a doubling in CO2 concentrations. These heat waves will lead to increased variability in summer monsoon precipitation, which will result in drastic effects on the agriculture sector in India.
Climate models predict a gradual rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and temperature across the globe. These models, however, are not very precise in predicting future changes in local weather conditions. Local weather conditions such as rain, temperature, sunshine and wind, in combination with locally adapted plant varieties, cropping systems, and soil conditions can maximize food production as long as plant diseases can be controlled.
Agriculture production is directly dependent on climate change and weather. Possible changes in temperature, precipitation and CO2 concentration are expected to significantly impact crop growth. The overall impact of climate change on worldwide food production is considered to be low to moderate with successful adaptation and adequate irrigation.
Global agricultural production could be increased due to the doubling of CO2 fertilization effect. Agriculture will also be impacted due to climate changes imposed on water resources. India will also begin to experience more seasonal variation in temperature with more warming in the winters than summers. Climate change is posing a great threat to agriculture and food security. Water is the most critical agricultural input in India, as 55% of the total cultivated areas do not have irrigation facilities.
Currently we are able to secure food supplies under these varying conditions. All climate models predict that there will be more extreme weather conditions, with more droughts, heavy rainfall and storms in agricultural production regions. Such extreme weather events will influence where and when diseases will occur, thereby imposing severe risks and potential crop failure.
In developing countries like India, climate change is an additional burden since ecological and socio-economic systems already face pressures from rapid population, industrialization and economic development. India’s climate could become warmer under conditions of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Over the years, demand for water has increased due to urbanization, increasing population, rapid industrialization and other developmental initiatives. In addition, changes in cropping and land-use patterns, over-exploitation of groundwater and changes in irrigation and drainage have modified the hydrologic cycle in many climate regions and river basins of India.
Availability of water is the most important factor in agricultural production. Water quality and quantity are serious constraints for agriculture in most parts of India. Agriculture must adapt to changing climatic conditions by tapping water resources and developing improved water management approaches.
Simultaneously, there is also need to develop and implement technologies and policies which will help in reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, assessment of the availability of water resources is future national requirement and expected impact of climate change and its variability is critical for relevant national and regional long-term development strategies for sustainable development.
( To Be Continued… )