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SAARC policy makers, scientists discuss climate change

                                                                                                                                    The Hindu, Panji, 16th December, 2014

Policymakers and scientists from SAARC countries have begun deliberations on climate change, which is adversely affecting Ocean and marine life in the region.
The five-day-long workshop, which began on Sunday at Port Blair, set in motion the discussions on this crucial topic.
The workshop has been organised by National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) for SAARC Coastal Zone Management Centre.
Policymakers from four SAARC countries- India, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka-are participating in it.
“In the Arabian Sea, the rate of warming after mid 90s is much higher than the previous three decades,” said NIO’s Chief Scientist Dr Prasanna Kumar, who is heading the team of scientists there presenting various studies on climate change.
Kumar said global warming and climate change is real and one of the greatest threat faced by humanity in the present century.
“Climate change has two parts - the natural and that forced by anthropogenic activities such as emission of fossil fuel, land use pattern changes and others,” he said.
He said the human factors are contributing in a large way compared to natural ones to induce the climate change.
“The humans are contributing largely through increased carbon dioxide emissions and also through changes in land use pattern due to urbanisation,” he added.
Kumar said that ocean plays an important role in absorbing almost 50 per cent of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by human activities.
“Though carbon dioxide forcing is global, the climate change impact could have regional differentiation. For example, the rate of warming of the Indian Ocean is different from that of the Pacific and Atlantic,” he added.
The scientist, however, said that “We can’t say right now, whether climate change is hitting danger levels. The changes have resulted in warming of the oceans. The rate of warming of Indian Ocean is 0.5 degree Celsius per 100 years for the period of 1900-2000“.
NIO’s four-member resource team comprising Kumar, co-ordinator J Ravindran and senior scientist Mahua Saha and Mani Murali is guiding deliberations with various policymakers, experts and researchers from SAARC countries.