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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1569-1583
Number of pages15
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number6
Early online date9 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


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-CC (Grant No. 01LN1306A). 2

FundersFunder number
Natural Environment Research Councilncas10009
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung01LN1306A


    • Agriculture
    • Climate change
    • Climate impacts
    • South Asia
    • Water


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