Climate change, flooding in South Asia and implications

Abstract

South Asia is one of the most flood vulnerable regions in the world. Floods occur often in the region triggered by heavy monsoon precipitation and can cause enormous damages to lives, property, crops and infrastructure. The frequency of extreme floods is on the rise in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Past extreme floods fall within the range of climate variability but frequency, magnitude and extent flooding may increase in South Asia in future due to climate change. Flood risk is sensitive to different levels of warming. For example, in Bangladesh, analysis shows that most of the expected changes in flood depth and extent would occur between 0 and 2°C warming. The three major rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna/Barak will play similar roles in future flooding regimes as they are doing presently. Increases in future flooding can cause extensive damage to rice crops in the monsoon. This may have implications for food security especially of poor women and children. Floods can also impact public health in the flood plains and in the coastal areas.

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Correspondence to M. Monirul Qader Mirza.

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Mirza, M.M.Q. Climate change, flooding in South Asia and implications. Reg Environ Change 11, 95–107 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-010-0184-7

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Flooding
  • South Asia
  • Crop damage
  • Food security