Ganges and Mekong basins may witness intense tropical storms by 2050


New Delhi: The Ganges and Mekong basins may witness a decline in the frequency of tropical storms but the intensity of these storms will be gone up by 2050 as per report.

The study led by the Newcastle University team focused on the Ganges and Mekong basins and evaluated the simulation of tropical storms, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The analyses show an increase in tropical storms frequency up until the early 2010s but climate models project a frequency decline of over 50% on average across both basins by 2050.

However, the high-resolution climate models show an increase in the future intensity of tropical storms for both basins, with the largest increases for the most intense tropical storms.

Ganga and Mekong basins are spread over countries like India, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, which have a rich biodiversity and are also very sensitive to climate change.

The Ganges and Mekong basins are two significant river systems in Asia that play vital roles in the lives of millions of people living in the region. The basins are essential for agriculture, water supply, and transportation.

These findings can be used to assess the future resilience of existing infrastructure systems to tropical storms across these densely populated basins. The team involved scientists from the Met Office and the University of Reading.

The scientists used European Union Horizon 2020 project PRIMAVERA models, which are available at up to 25 km resolution.

Study lead author, Dr. Haider Ali, of Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, said, “Tropical storms are one of the world’s most damaging natural hazards which result in colossal socioeconomic losses to life, infrastructure, and property, especially in low-lying delta rivers basins like the Ganges and Mekong”.

“Knowledge of changes to tropical storms activity under climate change can therefore be helpful in developing better disaster risk mitigation and for climate adaptation. Previous modeling studies have used coarse-resolution global climate models unable to capture key tropical storm characteristics” he added.

Study author, Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts, Newcastle University School of Engineering, added “Our results are consistent with those found for tropical storms and Tropical Cyclones in the Atlantic Basin, where they also project an overall decline in frequency but an increase in the frequency of the most intense TCs”.

“These systems cause massive impacts on society from high winds, rainfall and storm surges causing flooding. Quantifying these changes will allow us to better plan for future events” said the author.

Both the Ganges and Mekong basins are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including changes in precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise.

The authors said that developing our knowledge about the characteristics of future tropical storms is crucial in informing climate adaptation strategies to safeguard communities and critical infrastructure.

They add that understanding changes to tropical storm activity in the future can support effective adaptation planning and risk
assessment, particularly in densely populated low-lying delta river basins like the Ganges and Mekong.


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