Environment & Biodiversity

Report: State of the Climate in Asia 2021

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) recently released State of the Climate in Asia 2021 at the COP27 in Egypt.

Key findings

  • Drought, floods, and landslides have all caused a rise in economic losses in Asia, totaling 35.6 billion USD in losses.
  • These natural disasters had a direct influence on more than 48.3 million people.
  • Last year, Asia had more than 100 natural disasters. Floods and storm events made up 80% of these. Around 4,000 people perished as a result of this, with floods being responsible for 80% of the fatalities.
  • The greatest number of fatalities and economic harm were brought on by floods. Most residents in the area were affected by the drought.
  • China had the greatest economic loss in Asia in 2021. It suffered losses of 18.4 billion USD as a result of severe weather
  • India had the second-highest loss, dropping 3.2 billion USD.
  • India (3.2 billion USD), Thailand (3.2 billion USD), and China (18.4 billion USD) suffered the greatest economic losses as a result of flooding (0.6 billion USD).
  • Storms also resulted in significant financial losses in China ($3 billion), India ($4.4 billion), and Japan (2 billion USD).
  • The climate problem is making it harder for the globe to move toward sustainable development by escalating poverty and food insecurity..
  • The lack of access to water is also anticipated to worsen. Outside of the polar zone, High Mountain Asia, which is home to the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau, contains the most ice. For the most heavily populated region on earth, the glaciers in this area are the most important source of freshwater. The region’s glaciers have been retreating more quickly than usual in 2021 because to the unusually warm and dry weather.
  • Extremes of water are reportedly the biggest threat to Asia. The analysis claims that economic damages brought on by various sorts of disasters are rising in comparison to the 20-year norm. Economic losses brought on by landslides have increased by 147%, floods brought on by economic losses have increased by 23%, and drought-related economic losses have increased by 63%.

Reasons for these Disasters

Arabian Sea and Kuroshio Current’s Rapid Warming

  • These regions are warming three times more quickly than the average global upper-ocean temperature due to the Arabian Sea and Kuroshio Current.
  • Ocean warming may accelerate stratification, change storm courses and ocean currents, and contribute to sea level rise.
  • Since the atmosphere is directly impacted by the upper ocean’s warming in terms of convection, winds, cyclones, and other phenomena, this warming is significant.
  • However, the Kuroshio Current system takes warm water from the tropics and stronger winds force more heat into the current. This makes the Arabian Sea unique because it has pathways to receive excess heat through atmospheric tunnels and bridges and mixed warm water from various oceans is pumped into it.

La Nina

  • The previous two years also saw a La Nina, and during this period, pressure patterns established in India move from north to south, causing circulations from Eurasia and China.
  • The Southern Peninsular, which receives the Northeast monsoon, in particular, can have extreme rainfall patterns as a result of this. The pressure trend known as La Nina was responsible for the surplus last year.


  • • India would need to invest USD 46.3 billion annually (equivalent to 1.7% of India’s GDP) in order to adapt to climate change.

Top adaptation priorities informed by the risk landscape and with high investment cost-benefits, are:

  • Enhancing infrastructure resilience and early warning systems
  • Enhancing the resilience of water resource management and agricultural production in dryland agriculture
  • Putting in place nature-based solutions.
  • Progress in sustainable development and climate action will be accelerated by investing in these policy initiatives.

Adaptation Fund

  • Although India lacks a dedicated adaptation fund, the agriculture, rural, and environmental sectors have included funding into a number of their programmes.
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