Know Climate Change

Impacts of Climate Change

Impacts in Asia

Asia is the most populous continent in the world. In Asia, past and present climate trends and variability have been characterized by an increasing temperature, which is more pronounced during winters.

Click each sector to know about the impacts on that sector in Asia.

Maldives: Paradise soon to be lost
Most of the Maldives is a tourist hotspot with sun-kissed...

Most of the Maldives is a tourist hotspot with sun-kissed paradise islands and white sands. Unfortunately, this tourist haven is cursed with mounting evidence of the environment tragedy known as climate change. Scientists fear that sea level is rising up to 0.9 cm a year. Since 80% of its 1,200 islands are no more than 1 m above sea level, the Maldives could become uninhabitable within 100 years. The country's 360,000 citizens would be forced to evacuate.

It is no surprise that the Maldives was the first country to sign the Kyoto Protocol and that its capital is surrounded by a 3 m-high (9.8 ft) wall, which took 14 years to construct at a cost of $63 million. Unable to foot the bill themselves, the government happily accepted aid from Japan, which paid for 99% of the cost. But, the wall offers protection for just one of the Maldives' 200 inhabited islands.

With no choice left and people left at the mercy of nature, 60% of the inhabitants of Kandholhudhoo, a densely-populated island in the north of the Maldives, have volunteered to evacuate over the next 15 years; those remaining behind will eventually be compelled to do the same (BBC News, 2004).

Himalayan Glaciers in Danger
The Himalayan glaciers cover about three million hectares...

The Himalayan glaciers cover about three million hectares or 17% of the mountain area. They are the source of water for numerous rivers that flow across the Indo-Gangetic plains. These glaciers store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. About 15,000 Himalayan glaciers form a unique reservoir which supports perennial rivers such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra, which in turn, are the lifeline of millions of people living in South Asian countries (Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh).

The Gangetic basin alone is home to 500 million people, about 10% of the total human population in the region. But these glaciers are receding at a very fast pace, and if the temperatures continue to rise at the present rate, then the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035, and perhaps sooner, is very high. Increase in anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases, high population density near these glaciers, and consequent deforestation and land-use changes have also affected these glaciers adversely.

The 30.2 km long Gangotri glacier has been receding at a very alarming rate in recent years. Scientific studies have shown that between 1842 and 1935, the glacier was receding at an average of 7.3 m every year; the average rate of recession between 1985 and 2001 is about 23 m per year. The current trends of glacial melts suggest that the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and other rivers that criss-cross the northern Indian plain could likely become seasonal rivers in the near future as a consequence of climate change, and could likely affect the economies in the region (IPCC, 2007).