Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1569–1583 | Cite as

Climatic risks and impacts in South Asia: extremes of water scarcity and excess

  • Kira Vinke
  • Maria A. Martin
  • Sophie Adams
  • Florent Baarsch
  • Alberte Bondeau
  • Dim Coumou
  • Reik V. Donner
  • Arathy Menon
  • Mahé Perrette
  • Kira Rehfeld
  • Alexander Robinson
  • Marcia Rocha
  • Michiel Schaeffer
  • Susanne Schwan
  • Olivia Serdeczny
  • Anastasia Svirejeva-Hopkins
Original Article


This paper reviews the current knowledge of climatic risks and impacts in South Asia associated with anthropogenic warming levels of 1.5–4 °C above pre-industrial values in the twenty-first century. It is based on the World Bank Report “Turn Down the Heat, Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience” (2013b) . Many of the climate change impacts in the region, which appear quite severe even with relatively modest warming of 1.5–2 °C, pose significant hazards to development. For example, increased monsoon variability and loss or glacial meltwater will likely confront populations with ongoing and multiple challenges. The result is a significant risk to stable and reliable water resources for the region, with increases in peak flows potentially causing floods and dry season flow reductions threatening agriculture. Irrespective of the anticipated economic development and growth, climate projections indicate that large parts of South Asia’s growing population and especially the poor are likely to remain highly vulnerable to climate change.


South Asia Climate change Climate impacts Water Agriculture 



We thank all contributors to the World Bank Report “Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience,” which is the basis for this regional review. RVD was financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) via the Young Investigator’s Group CoSy-CC2 (Grant No. 01LN1306A).

Supplementary material

10113_2015_924_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1028 kb)
10113_2015_924_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (310 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 309 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kira Vinke
    • 1
  • Maria A. Martin
    • 1
  • Sophie Adams
    • 2
    • 3
  • Florent Baarsch
    • 3
  • Alberte Bondeau
    • 4
  • Dim Coumou
    • 1
  • Reik V. Donner
    • 1
  • Arathy Menon
    • 8
  • Mahé Perrette
    • 1
  • Kira Rehfeld
    • 5
  • Alexander Robinson
    • 1
    • 6
  • Marcia Rocha
    • 3
  • Michiel Schaeffer
    • 3
  • Susanne Schwan
    • 7
  • Olivia Serdeczny
    • 3
  • Anastasia Svirejeva-Hopkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.University of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  3. 3.Climate AnalyticsBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE) Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IRDAvignon UniversitéAix-en-ProvenceFrance
  5. 5.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchPotsdamGermany
  6. 6.Universidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  7. 7.Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale ZusammenarbeitEschbornGermany
  8. 8.NCAS-Climate, University of ReadingReadingUK

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