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Are you Climate Vulnerable? – A talk by Dr Sandhya Rao

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Climate change is being felt across the planet. A report released recently by IPCC reiterates that humans are driving a rise in the Global temperature. The report findings conclude that climate change has already caused “substantial damages and increasingly irreversible losses, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal and open ocean marine ecosystems”. Severity of extreme weather events like increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events at the expense of low rainfall events are on the rise (e.g. Texas cold snap in Feb 2021 cold snap, Canada heat wave in Jul 2021, floods in Germany July 2021, Greece wild fire in Aug 2021, a ‘Day Zero’ declared in Chennai, summer of 2019, Delhi urban flood in Jul 2021). Habitat destruction, growing urbanization and inequity combined with increase in multiple extreme events compound the risks which are more difficult to manage. 

IPCC report highlights that approximately 3.3 to 3.6 billion people live in circumstances that are highly vulnerable to climate change. Vulnerability is a result of many interlinked issues concerning economic, social, cultural, institutional, political factors in the physical environment that people live in. This inherent vulnerability can exacerbate due to climate change impacts. 

Assessment of vulnerability to climate variability and change broadly helps in understanding current vulnerability, change in inherent vulnerability under different projected climate scenario to help identify the factors that render some places/people more vulnerable than others. It facilitates informed decision-making process to select appropriate targets of adaptation.

This talk will focus on aspects of vulnerability assessment in climate change context. This will cover some examples using the social, economic, and environmental systems, how climate vulnerability analysis can identify the what, where, when, and why of vulnerability.

Dr Sandhya Rao holds a doctoral degree in water resources from the Indian Institute of Technology. Delhi. She has been working in the area of Water Resources and natural resource management for more than 25 years focusing extensively on issues related to climate change. Her areas of expertise include Hydrological, Hydraulic modeling, Climate change impact assessment in water, agriculture and health sectors, Climate change vulnerability and risk assessment. She has several International and National published papers. She is one of the Director of INRM Consultants, an Incubatee Company established through TBIU system of IIT Delhi. She was instrumental in INRM initiatives on various web portals serving information ranging from climate change information, real-time flow forecasting and real-time urban flood forecasting. She is currently associated with IIT Delhi as a technical consultant under a research project on “Water Security of NCT of Delhi” funded under the Global Challenge Research Fund of UK.

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