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Scientists investigate impact of climate change on India's monsoon season

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are investigating the anticipated effects of climate change on India's monsoon season and the impact that alterations in India's water cycle will have on the country's people, agriculture and wildlife

University of Liverpool

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are investigating the anticipated effects of climate change on India's monsoon season and the impact that alterations in India's water cycle will have on the country's people, agriculture and wildlife.

Changes to India's annual monsoon are expected to result in severe droughts and intense flooding in parts of India. Scientists predict that by the end of the century the country will experience a 3 to 5˚C temperature increase and a 20% rise in all summer monsoon rainfall.

As part of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), Liverpool and Indian scientists have been awarded £150,000 to develop key research methodologies and scientific monitoring procedures in collaboration to investigate how alterations in water resources may affect human health, agriculture, forests and wildlife.

Climate change studies undertaken so far reveal that action is essential in order to prevent long term damage to India's water cycle. The livelihood of a vast population in India depends on agriculture, forestry, wetlands and fisheries and land use in these areas is strongly influenced by water-based ecosystems that depend on monsoon rains. Changes to the water cycle may also cause an increase in water borne diseases such as cholera and hepatitis, as well as diseases carried by insects such as malaria.

Scientists, based at the University of Liverpool's Institute for Sustainable Water Integrated Management and Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER) and the School of Biological Sciences, are working in one of the largest river basins in India, the Godavari Basin in Andhra Pradesh, which displays a diversity of ecosystems and provides a good water model for other regions of India. The scientific approaches developed will be used to support local agencies in managing water resources more effectively.

Professor Ed Malby, Director of SWIMMER, said: "To maximise expertise and knowledge in this area it is important that UK and Indian scientists meet and exchange ideas and research. Throughout this year we are holding workshops in India with the five project partners to showcase work conducted so far and to develop detailed activities to achieve the project's aims. We are also developing Decision Support Frameworks (DSF) - computer based models by which scientists and policy makers can compare different climate change scenarios with alternative water and land management strategies. These frameworks will help Indian authorities with strategic decisions related to water management."

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Notes to editors

1. The University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading research institutions. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than £100 million annually.

2. The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) is designed to facilitate a step-change in research and education cooperation between the UK and India. The initiative is associated with high quality, innovative research and academic excellence.

3. The principle collaborators in the project include: Professor Ed Maltby, Institute for Sustainable Water, Integrated Management & Ecosystem Research (SWIMMER), University of Liverpool; Dr Martin Mortimer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool; Professor A.K. Gosain, Indian Institute of Techology, New Delhi; Dr R. Harding, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford; Professor N. Ravindranath Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Dr P Bhandari, The Energy Research Institute, New Delhi.

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