Climate Crisis and the Indian Monsoon

Developing adaptation strategies to minimise economic loss and loss of life and livelihood

Climate Crisis and the Indian Monsoon

It is ironic that the industrial revolution during the past century that helped feed the growing world population and the associated over-exploitation of the environment by humans has led to the present Climate Emergency and an existential crisis for humans.

The talk will summarise how the Indian monsoon is responding to global warming and illustrate the need for an adaptation strategy to cope with the increasing frequency and intensity of hydrological disasters (floods, flash floods, and landslides) using the Northeast India region as an example. 

The economic model of GDP growth used to create jobs and feed people through high energy-consuming industries is not sustainable and creates high social inequality. The growing inequality is likely to lead to social unrest and global chaos in the coming decades. 

As long as global energy consumption increases at a rate much higher than the generation rate of renewable energy, the current development model is unsustainable. 

The talk will discuss a possible alternative development model and the challenges we might face. This will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

There will also be a book launch at the event, Chasing Soppu.

About the Speakers

B N Goswami

Growing up in a remote village in Assam, B N Goswami went on to become a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru (1985 – 2006) and Director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune (2006 – 2014). He is currently a SERB Distinguished Fellow at Cotton University, Guwahati.

Prof. Goswami made path-breaking contributions to understanding the variability and predictability of the South Asian monsoon on intra-seasonal to multi-decadal time scales using observations, theoretical, and modelling tools. His discovery of the Indian Ocean Dipole Mode highlighted the importance of ocean-atmosphere interactions over the Indian Ocean on climate variability.

Conceptualising and leading the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) National Monsoon Mission Phase‑I, he helped MoES to build capacity in coupled modelling and supercomputing infrastructure required for it in the country. This helped develop the first Earth System Model of the country and elevated the country’s Short, Extended and Seasonal Prediction Systems to the world’s best level.

With more than 195 publications in high-impact journals, Goswami’s work is widely recognised nationally with the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Prize (1995), Fellowship of all three leading Science Academies of India and internationally by Fellowship of the World Academy of Science, Italy.

Seema Mundoli

Seema Mundoli is an academician and teaches at Azim Premji University. She started her career in Human Resources in the corporate sector. She later moved to work with different NGOs involved in conservation and advocacy on mining, land and forest rights, and education, focusing on tribal areas in the Eastern Ghats.

Having worked mostly in tribal and rural landscapes, she has become interested in looking at the social and ecological interactions around urban commons, especially in the current phase of increasing urbanisation that the Indian cities are witnessing. She has also co-authored a book titled Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities’.

About the Moderator

Santonu Goswami is a member of the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability and a faculty member at Azim Premji University. He is currently working towards strengthening India’s response to the climate crisis through data and models.

Before joining Azim Premji University, he spent five and a half years as a Senior Scientist at the National Remote Sensing Centre-Indian Space Research Organisation (NRSC-ISRO), focusing on studying key ecosystems in India, namely, coastal, riverine and Himalayan mountain ecosystems using data modelling of various time-series Geospatial and Climate datasets using open-source analytics tools.

He has also worked as a Research Scientist at the Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) in New York, USA, where he analysed urban datasets of New York City (NYC) to develop baseline scenarios for NYC neighbourhoods.

He has also worked as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the US Department of Energy Laboratory at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) focused on data-model integration to understand climate change impacts on Arctic Ecosystems.