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Climate crisis threatens India's food security, warn scientists

Climate scientists have warned that scorching heatwaves in India, among other extreme weather events, are "Most certainly" being driven by global warming, posing a risk to the country's food security.

Heatwaves in the country, which shaved off 3 million tonne of wheat output this year compared to the year before, are being driven by changing weather patterns induced by global warming, scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, have concluded.

"The only reason behind these heatwaves is global warming," said Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist at the IITM. Koll pored through data from seven decades to conclude that the severity and frequency of heatwaves were directly correlated to a warming globe.

Climate change may "Force many Indians into famine by 2030 owing to a reduction in agricultural productivity" and cause "Ripple effects across the food-supply chain", the International Food Policy Research Institute's 2022 Global Food Policy Report said.

The dire consequences have prompted Indian scientists to hunt for mitigation and adaptation strategies.

For the first time, scientists from India Meteorological Department and IITM demonstrated that heatwaves can be predicted up to one season in advance.

A recent landmark study by Koll also noted rising temperatures over the Indian Ocean, or ocean heatwaves, which is altering the monsoon's course and distribution.

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