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Human influence driving global warming at unprecedented rate: Senior climate scientist – The Indian Express

It is human influence that largely drives global warming at unprecedented rates, with the current century standing out as the warmest in 2,000 years, said R Krishnan, director and senior climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune on Tuesday.

He was speaking on the ‘Monsoon hydrological cyclone response to global climate change’ based on findings published in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the second day of the International Indian Ocean Science Conference.

“More than natural drivers like solar heating or volcanic activities, it is the human influence on climate change that has been growing since the 1850s,” said Krishnan.

“Since the middle of the 20th century, global warming can be attributed to greenhouse gases along with other influences like sulphur dioxide, organic carbon and other non-greenhouse gases. Aerosols, too, contribute to climate change and hydrological changes.”

Referring to AR6, the senior climate scientist noted that the temperature rise observed between 1850-1900 and 2010-2019 was about 1.1 degrees. “But this has been offset by anthropogenic drivers like sulphur dioxide and other drivers, particularly important for understanding hydrological scenarios and monsoon.”

The ongoing accelerated warming has led to reduction in the Arctic Sea ice and this depletion, Krishnan said, was more pronounced since the 1990s resulting in the rise in sea levels.

Increased warming led to wetter seasons over many parts of the globe, with the AR6 reporting a rise in global precipitation since the mid-20th century, once again driven by human activities, especially along high and mid-latitude countries. It is not just the land or the sea surface that was heating up but deep oceans, too, were warming at unprecedented rates.

“Even the subsurface oceans at 700 m or below (base values calculated for the period 1971-2018) are fast warming. The ocean heat content recorded at deeper layers from 0 to 2,000 m depth is high. Significant heating was observed along the Indian Ocean compared to the Pacific Ocean or north Atlantic Ocean region, where the warming is more spatially varying,” Krishnan pointed out.

According to the report, wetter monsoons are likely over South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and precipitation over the already wet areas is set to increase. On the other hand, dry and arid seasons are on the cards in subtropical areas due to a possible decrease in rainfall, including in areas around the Mediterranean Sea and southwest Australia.

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