India faces some of the highest disaster risk levels in the world, ranked 29 out of 191 countries by the 2019 Inform Risk Index. India has very high exposure to flooding, including, riverine, flash, and coastal, as well as high exposure to tropical cyclones and their associated hazards and drought. Disaster risk in India is also driven by its social vulnerability. India’s vulnerability ranking (44 out of 191) is driven by its high levels of socioeconomic deprivation. India scores markedly better in terms of its coping capacity. The section which follows analyses climate change influences on the exposure component of risk in India.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- India regularly experiences some of the world’s highest maximum temperatures, with an average monthly maximum of around 30°C and an average May maximum of 36°C. By 2080-2099 the annual median probability of heat wave, currently at 3%, is projected to reach approximately 11%, 13%, or 25% under RCPs 4.5, 6.0, and 8.5 respectively. While heatwaves refer to the periodic occurrence of exceptionally high heats, the incidence of permanent (chronic) heat stress is likely to increase significantly in India under all emissions pathways.
- Floods are on average the greatest source of annual losses to disaster in India, costing an estimated $7 billion every year (UNISDR, 2014). During the 20th century, flood hazard increased across a majority of India. The implications of the general trend towards more intense extreme precipitation events are serious for potential future flood extent.
- Cyclone activity makes a large contribution to disaster risk in India, notably along the east coast. he 1999 cyclone “Orissa” caused over 10,000 people to lose their lives, and overwhelmed and damaged buildings, lifeline infrastructure, and economic assets along many coastal districts. 86% of all deaths from tropical cyclones are accounted for in India and Bangladesh. Storm drainage infrastructure is vulnerable to being overloaded and cause flooding, which will have adverse impacts on human health and the local economy.
- Projections point towards an increase in summer monsoon precipitation, however, snowmelt and glacial melt as a result of climate change will cause changes in the timing of river peak flows (i.e. peaking in early spring and diminishing in the summer) and the year-to-year variability of monsoon rainfall will contribute to a greater frequency of floods and droughts and lower recharge rates of groundwater reservoirs.
- Riverine flooding and inland flooding are expected to become more severe in the future with climate change, especially in the Godavari and Mahanadi river basins along the eastern coast of India.
- The northwestern region of India is projected to see an increase in droughts in the future and eastern India is expected to see an increase in the length of dry spells. By 2030, it is estimated that the agricultural losses in India will be over $7 billion and affect 10% of the populations’ income, but this estimate could be reduced by 80% if climate resilience and adaptation policies are employed.
- Climate change is expected to interact with cyclone hazard in complex ways which are currently poorly understood. Known risks include the action of sea-level rise to enhance the damage caused by cyclone-induced storm surges, and the possibility of increased windspeed and precipitation intensity.
- Improve public health infrastructure (i.e. disease surveillance and emergency response capabilities), control of vector borne diseases (e.g. malaria, kala azar), introduce emergency medical relief programs, and prepare disaster management plans.
- Sustainable use of groundwater resources, introduce more drought tolerant crop varieties, and water harvesting and recycling.
- Improve drainage and sanitation infrastructure.
- Introduce soil conversation and drip irrigation techniques.
- Coastal protection infrastructure, coastal zone studies to assess vulnerability to sea level rise, water-harvesting techniques, improvement of infrastructure (e.g. sanitation and drainage systems), and early warning systems for extreme events will help build Indians resilience to sea level rise.