Extreme climatic events: A review of trends, vulnerabilities and adaptations in the South Asia Region

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The South Asia Region (SAR), home of 1.9 billion people, is under the threat of multifarious extreme climatic events (ECEs) like heat waves, hydrological droughts and floods, severe cyclonic storms and so on as a consequence of land and sea surface temperature anomalies driven by overwhelming global warming effects. On account of its diversified geo-environmental settings, climate change impacts are not univocal over the region. Also, it is quite difficult to understand the complex earth-atmosphere feedback mechanism across the SAR in spite of an identical pattern of changes followed in the region as that observed in the past. Present review summarized the observed rise in earth temperature and annual and seasonal precipitation anomalies during the past century (1901–2000) and predicted trends across varied climate models until the end of the 21st century. The frequencies and dimensions of all ECEs have also increased in the past and are projected to accelerate in the present century. Considering all possible impacts of ECEs, this chapter suggests feasible options for location-specific adaptation and mitigation measures by resilience building, engaging stakeholders, involving local to global organizations, encouraging public and private partnerships and above all local-level cooperation in coping mechanisms. Location-specific disaster preparedness may include indigenous coping strategies, early warning systems, adequate funding and technology transfer. Moreover, an acceptable balance between economic development and GHG emissions is imperative in order to sustain natural resources, livelihood security and economic prosperity in South Asia.

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