Rising temperatures, heat extremes, floods, droughts and rainfall variability can disrupt rainfed agricultural food production and adversely impact crop yield. For instance, as per a NITI Aayog document, of the total pulses, oilseeds and cotton produced in the country, 80% pulses, 73% oilseeds and 68% cotton come from rain-fed agriculture.
- Droughts and floods are detrimental to surface and groundwater recharge.
- Rising sea level leads to intrusion of saltwater in the coastal aquifers contaminating the groundwater. E.g. in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Lakshadweep etc.
- Declining trend in snowfall and retreat of glaciers in HKH region may impact the water supply in the major rivers and streams including the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra.
Rising temperatures are likely to increase energy demand for space cooling, further adding to the global warming by increasing GHG emissions.
Higher temperatures, extreme weather events, and higher climate variability could elevate risk of heat strokes, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, stress-related disorders and spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Decrease in the availability or affordability of food and potable water may lead to reduced nutritional intake, particularly among economically weaker sections.
Threat to biodiversity
Indian Ocean is home to 30% of the world’s coral reefs and 13% of global wild-catch fisheries. This marine ecosystem, including corals and phytoplankton, and fisheries are being impacted by a rise in heat waves in the ocean, known as marine heat waves.