Rewind: Climate-proof Hyderabad
Posted: Posted Date – 11:59 PM, Sat – 28 May 22
By Dr. Ramesh Chenamaneni
In recent years, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has released long term rainfall forecasts for four divisions namely: North East India, Central India, North West India and Peninsular India. Given the large spatial variation in rainfall and soils within these divisions, farmers in different sub-regions are unable to use these larger-scale predictions for cropping decisions to adapt to climate variability.
Additionally, the ability of the agricultural extension system to create and disseminate advisories based on location-specific climate forecasts is suboptimal at best. Therefore, there is a need to reinvigorate the current system and close the gap in the timely flow of information based on climate predictions to support stakeholder decisions along the agrifood value chain to mitigate impacts. climate on agriculture.
For Hyderabad, it lacks a comprehensive assessment of future impacts of climate change, an obstacle to an effective urban planning process. This article discusses critical issues related to climate change, scientific predictions for the Deccan region as well as challenges for policy makers, planners and administrators. It also offers specific recommendations for a climate-proof Hyderabad region.
Monsoon forecast over North Telangana
According to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, the Indian summer monsoon (the southwest monsoon) is expected to reach northern Telangana on June 15. Intermittent rains may appear from June 14 to 20. With a high probability, a dry period will occur between June 20 and June 29. Continued monsoon rains are expected after June 29. The uncertainty of the dates is +/- 4 days. (see picture)
Forecast for Hyderabad Deccan Region
The Indo-German project on sustainable Hyderabad, led by this author, in which 60 scientists worked for 8 years on different topics – taking the analysis of 100 years of rainfall and other data at Begumpet – could for the first time very clear-term climate change projections and their implications for the city and Deccan region of Telangana.
Climate change is largely conceived as a global problem where solutions are developed globally, but it is the multitude of actors within nations that act on various mitigation strategies
Climate change projections depend on global CO2 emissions scenarios, best described by a high (A2, business as usual) and low (B1, global emissions reduction from around 2035) global emissions future. The level of certainty of our representations of the climate system for Hyderabad was assessed by their degree of agreement with 17 independent climate models (provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The two most relevant climate variables impacting urban functions are explained:
Very heavy monsoon rains: more than 80mm/day, currently occurring once every two years, is the main cause of flooding in Hyderabad, resulting in a wide range of secondary impacts: ranging from adverse health effects traffic disruptions and infrastructure damage. Regardless of the emission scenario, prepare for a 60% increase in the frequency of these events until 2050. Here, all 17 models show high agreement under the A2 (business as usual) scenario, while under the B1 scenario, the variance is larger, however indicating a clear increase in monsoon events.
Extremely hot days: Currently 1.2 days/year in Hyderabad as per IMD definition. They cause direct harmful effects on health and a multitude of indirect impacts (accidents, work slowdown, etc.). In general, we will observe a monotonous increase in the frequency of days with a heat wave over the next few decades, which will certainly be lower for scenario B1 than for scenario A2. Compared to the current average of days, for the high emissions scenario (A2), we project around 20 days until 2050 and 40 in 2100. While for the low emissions scenario (B1), the number with values 8 and 13 days respectively are always a big challenge.
Higher temperatures the norm?
According to studies, it looks like we will have to live with rising temperatures in the future. Even though the process of global warming will stop within the next 50 years, we cannot escape the damage already done to the ozone layer. This means that we must design policies, programs and implement a range of activities if we are serious about this challenge. The strategy should logically be twofold:
• In the long term, we must ensure that we put our environment back on track and not sacrifice it for economic growth. It is simply because at some point economic growth itself will stagnate as the environment and the resources we derive from it are depleted.
• In the short to medium term, we must urgently implement climate change adaptation measures in our economic, environmental and social activities in order to minimize the already worrying effects of climate change, for example the current severe heat waves .
Geography can also increase a community’s vulnerability to heat waves. In cities, dark buildings, pavements and roofs tend to absorb more heat during the day and retain more heat at night than the surrounding countryside – called the “urban heat island effect” – which can aggravate the intensity of high temperatures for city dwellers.
Hyderabad is characterized by extreme climatic conditions – large variations in temperature and rainfall in different seasons
Climate change is largely conceived as a global problem where solutions are developed on a global scale and governed by representatives of national governments signing and ratifying sets of rules governing the global climate. But it is the multitude of actors at different levels within these nations who decide or/and act on various climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. Therefore, from cities and towns, communities must take responsibility for implementing their own local strategies to combat climate change.
Hyderabad, as a megacity with around one million inhabitants, is characterized by extreme climatic conditions – large variations in temperature and rainfall during different seasons. Climate change calculations for the city carried out under the ‘Sustainable Hyderabad’ project show that these conditions are very likely to become more extreme in the future. The city is already barely able to cope with these extremes, and climate change will increase the frequency and magnitude of new conditions damaging to the population.
A full assessment of future impacts can be carried out by following these steps:
• Identify properties and certainty ranges of future climate change
• Estimation of the consequences of climate change on the urban population
• Visualize the social and demographic aspect of the city under the conditions of climate change
• Identify and prioritize appropriate adaptation steps
For the government
• Include and consider climate change predictions for Hyderabad in the Hyderabad Metropolitan Area Development Master Plan 2031 and their impacts on various functions of the city
• Check planning and development decisions against their compatibility with future climate change scenarios
• Avoid development in flood-prone areas and/or create adequate drainage infrastructure
• Site planning must take into account the likely increase in heat waves by creating ventilation corridors and shading
• Buildings should be prepared with insulation and passive cooling measures (how about building modern houses with old and ancient building architecture like in villages)
• Adapt informal settlements to the effects of climate change
• Traffic planning should consider increasing flood frequencies in trouble-free locations and should also be based on spatially explicit results from CATHY (Climate Assessment Tool for Hyderabad). Same for route and lane planning
For civil society
• Actively engage in the assessment and discussion of Hyderabad’s development plans in the context of climate change
• The capacities of Resident Welfare Associations and other NGOs need to be strengthened so that they can harness the development of the newly developed CATHY knowledge platform and also contribute to the enrichment of the tool by adding data on different socio-economic dimensions.
(The author is an MP, chairman of the Indo-German Climate Change Project and Humboldt expert in agriculture, environment and cooperation)
The Climate Assessment Tool for Hyderabad or CATHY enables planners to deal with complex circumstances. It is a software tool (based on a web GIS) allowing planners to interactively analyze the explicit impacts of climate change in space and time for different combinations of scenarios.
Climatic variables relevant to the urban functioning of Hyderabad can be projected with a fair amount of certainty. Spatially explicit projections of climate change impacts, such as the impacts of heat waves and heavy rainfall, are possible and can be taken into account in land-use planning to implement relevant recommendations.
The results of this type of assessment must then be made available to planning processes that encompass a wide variety of institutional actors, namely the administrative and planning authority of the metropolitan area, the elected council of corporations and municipalities of the region, other elected governance units, researchers, industrialists, NGOs and other civil society associations.
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