State of the Climate in Asia 2023 Report

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • Key Highlights of the ‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023’ Report:
  • What the ‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023’ Report Highlighted About India?
  • What Needs to be Done?

Why in News?

According to a World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) report (‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023’), Asia faced the most disasters in the world in 2023.

Key Highlights of the ‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023’ Report

State of the Climate in Asia 2023 Report
  • Number of extreme weather events in Asia: 79 events associated with extreme weather, climate and water-related hazards in 2023 affected over 9 million people in the region, directly killing over 2,000 people.
    • Compared to 2022, the reported disaster events in the region were lesser by only two in 2023.
    • The number of people impacted in 2023 was lower as the 2022 Pakistan floods had alone affected over 30 million people.
  • The mean temperature over Asia: In 2023, it was 0.91°C above the 1991–2020 reference period, the second highest on record.
    • Many parts of the region experienced extreme heat events in 2023. Japan experienced its hottest summer on record.
  • Glaciers in High-Mountain Asia: They have lost significant mass over the past 40 years, at an accelerating rate.
    • In 2023, record-breaking high temperatures and drier conditions in the Eastern Himalayas and the Tien Shan (mountain range) exacerbated mass loss.
  • The ocean around Asia: Has shown an overall warming trend since the time series began in 1982.
    • In 2023, sea-surface temperature anomalies in the north-west Pacific Ocean were the highest on record.
  • South-west China suffered from a drought: This was because of thebelow-normal precipitation levels nearly every month of 2023.
  • Floods and storms accounted for 80% of hydrometeorological hazards: For instance, Yemen suffered heavy rainfall and resulting in widespread floods.

What the ‘State of the Climate in Asia 2023’ Report Highlighted About India?

State of the Climate in Asia 2023’ Report india highlights
  • In India, the impacts of extreme weather events were felt strongly as the country experienced severe heat waves, rainfall-induced floods, glacial lake outbursts and tropical cyclones.
  • Severe heat waves (in April and June 2023) resulted in about 110 deaths due to heatstroke.
    • For example, the Ballia and Deoria districts in Uttar Pradesh saw the deaths of over 100 people, many of them senior citizens with co-morbidities.
    • Temperatures were in the 42-43 degrees Celsius range in the region during these heat-related deaths.
  • Flood events occurred in India during August 2023 and Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand recorded 25 deaths as well as extensive damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
    • The Indian government declared a state of emergency in the worst-affected areas, initiating rescue and relief operations.
  • The Indian sub-continent experienced six tropical cyclones in 2023 which formed in the North Indian Ocean. The cyclone activity was slightly above the average of 5.4 cyclones.
    • Four out of the six cyclones - Mocha, Hamoon, Midhili and Michaung - formed over the Bay of Bengal and two - Biparjoy and Tej - formed over the Arabian Sea.
  • A significant glacial lake outburst flood in South Lhonak Lake in Sikkim on October 4 last year, breached the Chungthang dam downstream on the Teesta River and killed over 40 people.

What Needs to be Done?

  • Disaster risk reduction in the Asia region is facing an alarming gap in climate projections and tailored products that are needed to inform long-term interventions such as adaptation to and mitigation of climate change and its impacts.
  • Currently, less than 50% of WMO Members are providing tailored products, indicating a significant inadequacy in view of the region’s high vulnerability to climate-related disasters.
  • By 2030, annual losses in Asia (due to extreme weather events) are expected to be over USD 160 billion, which is close to 0.6% of the region’s GDP, up from 0.1% in the 1970s.
  • Therefore, there is an urgent need to advance these efforts and provide more tailored support products to address long-term strategies as well as medium and short-term activities and interventions to effectively mitigate disaster risks.

Q.1. What is the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)?

The WMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics.

Q.2. What do you mean by the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)?

A GLOF is a sudden release of water from a lake fed by glacier melt that has formed at the side, in front, within, beneath, or on the surface of a glacier.