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As pictures of fires and floods dominate media stories across the world, the UN's climate science panel released much-anticipated predictions for temperature and sea level rises today.

Humankind is already experiencing the consequences of climate change, according to the research, as the world has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius on average. As the planet warms more, heatwaves, droughts and heavy rains will become more often and intense.

Here are the climate change predictions IPCC made for India.

  • According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group-I report, increasing heatwaves and droughts, increased rainfall events, and enhanced cyclonic activity are predicted to occur over India and the subcontinent during the next few decades.
  • Heatwaves and humid heat stress would be increasingly extreme and frequent in the twenty-first century, according to the first part of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), titled "Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis." 
  • Many areas are expected to have an increase in the probability of compound occurrences (i.e different types of extreme events happening at the same time or one after the other). Experts warn that this is particularly concerning for India.
  • “The observed mean surface temperature rise has definitely emerged out of the range of internal variability compared to 1850-1900,” the research noted for the Indian subcontinent. "Heat extremes have increased while cold extremes have decreased and both patterns are expected to continue in the next decades.”
  • According to the research, the monsoon in South and Southeast Asia deteriorated in the second half of the twentieth century, owing to an increase in aerosols and particulate matter caused by human activities. The combined impacts of greenhouse gases and aerosols are responsible for the dry-north and wet-south patterns of East Asian summer monsoon precipitation changes, according to the report.

Also Read: Explained: What can be expected from UN's landmark climate change report?

  • The number of heatwaves in the ocean will continue to rise. Seasons of fire will become longer and more intense, especially in North Asia. In central and northern Asia, mean surface wind speeds have dropped and will continue to decline.
  • According to the research, glacial run-off in Asia's high mountains would grow until the mid-21st century, then decline owing to the depletion of glacier storage. Sea level in the North Indian Ocean surrounding Asia has risen faster than the world average, resulting in coastal land loss and shoreline erosion. The IPCC has said with "high confidence" that regional-mean sea level will continue to rise.
  • According to the IPCC, mountain and polar glaciers will continue to melt for decades or millennia, meaning that the Himalayas in India and neighbouring nations may face permanent changes. The Greenland Ice Sheet and the Antarctic Ice Sheet are both expected to lose ice in the twenty-first century.
  • At the global scale, the fraction of strong tropical cyclones and peak wind speeds of the most intense tropical cyclones are expected to rise as global warming continues.
  • Aerosol emissions in India are masking the increase in heat waves; if these emissions are reduced, additional increases in heat waves are expected. Heatwaves are likely to become more intense, major rainfall events will occur, and glaciers will continue to melt, all of which are critical for India.

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