With larger extreme weather events in the picture, such as the floods that ravaged India and Bangladesh, the countries need to think about short-term adaptation to protect people, says noted atmospheric scientist and MIT Professor Ronald G. Prinn.
“For countries like India, Bangladesh, I would say there is very little you can do on the mitigation front. How can you protect people and infrastructure or how can you set up warning systems, have places that people can shelter… to preserve at least life… that’s the level one has to think about… short-term adaptation,” Prinn told IANS here.
Prinn co-directs the MIT’s Joint Program on Science and Policy of Global Change with John Reilly.
Queried about the extreme weather events, including the floods in India, he said all of the projections that are being done by 20-plus centres across the world, including at the MIT, all emphasise “larger extreme events in the picture”.
Prinn was in the city to deliver the lecture on ‘Climate Change Risks and the Challenge of Avoiding 2 degree Celsius Warming’ on Wednesday as part of centenary celebration of Bose Institute.
“Every big group is coming up with the same general conclusions. These big extremes are driven by very strong convection… this is fuelled by water vapour. Humidity is increasing all of the time so we are putting more fuel into the extreme weather engine and global warming does exactly that,” he said.
Floods have claimed over 1,200 lives across India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and affected 40 million people. Ongoing monsoon rains have ground Mumbai to a halt.
“The forecast is that you get greater and greater extreme events to do with big storms and greater and greater extreme events to do with prolonged drought. We are also having big floods in Texas, Louisiana.”
At least 37 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey have been reported in the US state of Texas.
In addition to adaptation for floods, Prinn also believes India should be concerned about heat waves in its neighbourhood.
“More countries should be concerned about what goes on in their neighbourhood. So, all of the heat waves are occurring up in Kashmir region and up until Pakistan, Afghanistan… that’s something India has to be concerned about,” he added.