What is Micro-climatic Zone Shifting?

The study on “Preparing India for climate events” was recently published by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.   This is the first time the extreme weather event hotspots in India have been mapped.

Key findings

The unpredictability, intensity and frequency of extreme events in India has increased. The extreme climate events witnessed by India between 1970 and 2005 were 250. On the other hand, India witnessed 310 extreme weather events between 2005 and 2020.

The study has found that frequency of flood events has increased by eight times in the last 50 years in the country.

According to the study over 40% of Indian districts are facing shift in pattern of extreme events. The study also says that around 75% of Indian districts that are home to 638 million people  have now become hotspots of extreme climate events. The extreme climate events include floods, cyclones, heat and cold waves. This change in climatic patterns within a small area or a district is called micro climatic zone shifting.

Maharashtra is the most affected state of the micro climatic zone shifting. More than 80% of the districts in Maharashtra are vulnerable to drought like situations.

What are micro climatic zone shifting faced by Maharashtra?

More than 80 percentage of Maharashtrian districts are prone to drought. The capital city Mumbai alone has witnessed more than threefold increase in extreme floods in the last fifty years. Several districts of the state has shifted to a dry summer climate.

What is micro climatic zone shifting?

The micro climatic zones are regions where the weather is different from the surrounding areas. The major reasons identified for the micro climatic zone shifting are disappearing wetlands, change in land use patterns, encroachment on natural ecosystems and urban heat Island. The urban heat Island occurs when a city or region experiences higher temperatures as compared to its nearby rural areas. These urban heat Island traps heat locally and is a major cause of micro climatic zone shifting.

Way forward

The study recommends that democratization of weather and climate related data is essential for building climate resilient countries. Embracing of risk assessment principles are equally important to safeguard the Indian agriculture, large-scale infrastructure projects and industries.

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