Rising tide: Mumbai's iconic structures such as the Bandra-Worli sea link are at risk of getting submerged by 2050 because of rising sea levels, according to a new report. Photo: Hindustan Times

Iconic properties in Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Vizag may submerge under sea by 2050

A new analysis by Indian scientists concluded that some major coastal properties and road networks in Mumbai, Kochi, Mangalore, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, and Thiruvananthapuram will be submerged due to the impact of rising sea level by 2050. Scientists quantified IPCC’s sixth assessment report that projected that the sea level around India will rise significantly by 2050. 

The analysis revealed that in Mumbai, around 998 buildings and 24km of road are at risk of impact by potential sea-level rise by 2050, and approximately 2,490 buildings and 126km of road will be affected by potential sea-level rise during high tide, reported HT. In Chennai, a 5km-long road and 55 buildings are at risk, of which a majority are residential and situated in low-lying areas. 

In Kochi, around 464 buildings are likely to be hit by rising sea water by 2050 with the number rising to around 1,502 buildings during high tide. In Thiruvananthapuram, due to sea level rise by 2050 and sea level rise with high tide, 349 and 387 buildings, respectively, are likely to be impacted, the newspaper said, quoting the study. In Visakhapatnam, around 206 buildings and 9km of road network are likely to be inundated due to potential coastline changes by 2050.

The analysis of the IPCC assessment was carried out by RMSI, a global risk management firm, which pointed out that Haji Ali dargah, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Western Express Highway, Bandra-Worli Sea-link,and Queen’s Necklace on Marine Drive, all in Mumbai , are at risk of submergence.

At 42.4°C, Delhi records highest temp in first half of April in 72 years

Delhi recorded its highest temperature in 72 years in the first half of April. The mercury rose to a maximum temperature of 42.4°C on April 9, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated. This is eight notches higher than the normal temperature for the season. The IMD issued an ‘orange alert’ and warned of a ‘severe heatwave’ in parts of the Capital. The all-time highest temperature for the month of April in Delhi is 45.6°C, which was recorded on April 29, 1941.

Meanwhile, heatwaves across north India have affected wheat yields. Per-acre yields have fallen 10-15%, according to wheat cultivators. Farmers said heatwave conditions in March destroyed crops that were in the advanced ripening stage.  

Pre-monsoon cyclones that hit dry lands are less likely to cause severe flooding: Study

A recent study found that the severity of floods, caused by cyclone-induced rainfall, is formed by existing soil moisture levels of river basins. Scientists studied the impact of tropical cyclones on flooding in four major Indian river basins in India’s east coast from 1981 to 2019. Cyclones that make landfall in the pre-monsoon season are less likely to cause severe flooding. This happens because of drier land conditions, which prevent the cyclonic rain water from directly becoming runoff as the rainwater is sponged off by the dry land. Flooding is more likely when the cyclone system encounters moisture-saturated land during monsoons and immediately after the monsoon. Cyclone Asani, India’s first cyclone of the year, formed over southeast Bay of Bengal in March. However, it did not intensify and made landfall in Myanmar.  With intensifying cyclone risks, experts bat for monitoring soil conditions, such as soil moisture, to predict flood severity from cyclones.

Climate change threatening survival of medicinal plants in Himalayas: Research 

Medicinal plants in the Himalayas are under threat from climate change, according to two new research studies. The study observed 163 medicinal plant species in Sikkim, which is part of Eastern Himalayas biodiversity hotspot. The species were observed in both the current and future climates scenarios in 2050 and 2070. According to the analysis, a majority of the species is located in tropical and subtropical regions in the Sikkim Himalayas, at heights of 300m to 2,000m, respectively. Most of these species are likely to move further up in future scenarios, according to the research. Around 13-16% of these plant species are likely to lose their habitats by 2050 and 2070, the research also found. Species restricted to smaller areas or with height constraints are most vulnerable. The research concluded that current conservation strategies need to be urgently reviewed. 

Cactus’ extinction risk to rise by mid-century due to climate change: Study

The cactus plant is known to thrive in arid and hot conditions. But a new study suggested that global warming is likely to put 60% of cactus species at greater risk of extinction by the middle of the century. Human-caused threats, such as poaching and habitat destruction, were not taken into account for the study published in the journal Nature. It observed 408 cactus species under three different warming scenarios. The study found that even under the most modest warming pathway, the survival of many cactus species will be under threat because of loss of habitable territory. 

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