Research report says the trend is worrying
KOTTAYAM, JUNE 4:
A study conducted by Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) has found out that extreme temperatures are becoming more frequent in recent years in Kottayam, Kerala’s major rubber growing area.
An analysis of the data of daily maximum and minimum temperatures from 1970 to 2010, conducted by the Climate Change and Ecosystem Studies Division of RRII showed clear indications of the warming trend.
Yield to be affected
The production of latex in rubber trees is closely related to the ambient temperature. The productivity of the crop decreases as the temperature goes up beyond a threshold level.
Earlier studies clearly showed that the increase in atmospheric temperature would affect rubber production in India’s traditional rubber growing regions. Thus the impact of changing climate in this region may seriously affect rubber cultivation, if the present warming trend continues.
Since the socio-economic sustainability of the region is highly dependent on rubber cultivation, proper precautions and climate resilient measures may have to be adopted by the farmers to overcome the adverse effects of temperature stress.
The diurnal temperature range (difference between monthly mean maximum and minimum temperatures) increased from 7.800 C during 1970s to 9.20 C in recent years. Frequency of occurrence of warming days (with temperature above 32 C) also increased at a rate of 0.56 per cent a year.
The number of days with minimum temperature decreased significantly, indicating the warming nights are becoming more in Kottayam during recent years.
The monthly highest temperature showed an increase of 0.0380 C per year during 1970 to 2010.
Persistence of high temperature consecutively for six days or more represents a warm spell. The number of such warm spells increased and the gaps between warm spells became shorter in recent years.
The impact of such phenomenon in the production and productivity of agricultural crops in South East Asia and Europe have already been reported.
Extreme temperature events in the form of heat wave and cold wave in the northern states of India impacts severely on crop production and quality of grains leading to serious socio-economic consequences.
The results of the study by RRII were presented in the recent Kerala Environment Congress-2015 held at Kottayam during May 2015.