Temperature rise in Sri Lanka projected

A temperature rise in Sri Lanka is projected to be marginally lower than the global average, a latest Climate Risk country report by the Asian Development Bank and World Bank Group said.

The report published on Monday however highlighted that Sri Lanka faces a significant threat from extreme heat if the world emissions increased under the highest emissions pathway (RCP8.5).

A Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) is a greenhouse gas concentration trajectory adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The report projected that, under the highest emissions pathway (RCP8.5), the number of days surpassing 35°C could increase from a baseline of 20 days to more than 100 days by the 2090s.“Under the highest emissions pathway temperatures are projected to rise by 2.9°C–3.5°C by the 2090s, over the 1986–2005 baseline. In contrast, warming of 0.8°C–1.2°C is projected over the same time horizon on the lowest emissions pathway (RCP2.6),” it stated.

“Extreme heat threatens human health and living standards, particularly for outdoor labourers in urban areas without adequate cooling systems. This will particularly impact communities in Sri Lanka’s northern region. There is also potential for adverse implications to Sri Lanka’s large tourism sector. Temperature rise is likely to put downward pressure on agricultural yields, including key staples such as rice. This may impact negatively on national and household food security,” the report observed. “Without adaptive action, the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events may put lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure at risk through their link with riverine flooding, flash floods, and landslides. Rises in minimum temperatures are projected to be faster than rises in average temperatures,” it added.

“Increased incidence of flooding also brings the potential for enhanced disease transmission, an area demanding further research and disaster risk reduction efforts.

Projected changes are expected to impact on Sri Lanka’s poorest and most marginalized communities most strongly, exacerbating poverty and inequality,” the report highlighted.

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