Publish Date: October 31, 2023
Researchers to Global South: Use Emerging Technologies and Strengthen International Collaboration to Overcome Challenges in Adapting to Climate Change
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New Delhi: Researchers at IIT Delhi, in collaboration with National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) USA; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; University of Arizona (UoA), USA; Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) New Delhi; and Second Institute of Oceanography (SIO) China; have published a study titled “A Need for Actionable Climate Projections Across the Global South” in Nature Climate Change – a leading journal in the discipline of climate change (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-023-01778-2).
An analysis of the last six generations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments by the research team has unravelled that future climate projections made over the last three decades were highly inconsistent and self-contradictory across the Global South. This has compounded the many challenges it faces in adapting to climate change
The research team included Prof. Saroj K. Mishra, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi; Pankaj Upadhyaya, a Ph.D. scholar from the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT Delhi; Dr. John T. Fasullo from NCAR USA; Narayan Prasad Keshri from DST CoE in Climate Modeling, IIT Delhi; Dr. Popat Salunke from MIT, USA; Asiya B. Sainudeen from the UoA; Dr. Arunabha Ghosh from CEEW New Delhi, and Prof. In-Sik Kang from SIO China.
Most countries in the Global South, in the absence of their own national or regional climate assessments, mainly draw guidance from the periodic assessments carried out by the IPCC.
However, an evaluation of these IPCC assessments carried out by the team of researchers from multiple nations reveals that climate projections, mainly for rainfall and temperature are inconsistent for much of the Global South and, at times, contradictory in terms of both magnitude and spatial distribution. This inconsistency in climate projections is a major roadblock for framing effective climate policies for the region.
The policies developed based on these assessments could incur huge economic losses and compound the many challenges the Global South faces in adapting to climate change.
The researchers have proposed using emerging technologies and strengthening international collaboration to address these challenges. Kilometre-scale modeling, region-specific model customization, machine-learning and deep-learning approaches, regional climate assessment, and constrained climate projections using observations are some of the solutions suggested.
The research work highlights the need for unprecedented international collaboration, especially in terms of sharing resources, as some of the suggested solutions, such as kilometre-scale modeling demands huge computational resources and may not be affordable for the individual countries in the Global South.
The researchers advocate for developing one or a constellation of climate modeling centres with shared exascale computing powers, at least at a continental scale, as a concerted effort on the part of the climate modeling community, policymakers, and governments to address the challenges.
Notably, the recently concluded G20 summit hosted in New Delhi has also underlined the Global South’s role in the global development and decision-making. Thus, in line with the G20’s agenda, the findings from the study will contribute in strengthening the Global South’s voice urging the need for actionable climate projections to ramp up the climate actions in the region.