Indian Institute of Technology Madras launched a ‘DST Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Infrastructure and the Adaptation Strategies’ on 15th April 2019 on campus. It will play a major role in helping communities in India’s 7,500 km-long coastal line to prepare for the impact of climate change such as rise in sea levels and increased frequency of tropical cyclones.
The CoE will carry out research studies on predicting climate change impact on coastal communities and strategically important coastal infrastructure such as ports, power plants and major industries. Studies will also be undertaken to evaluate the intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones and extreme rainfall events under futuristic warming scenarios and the corresponding effect on the coastal infrastructure.
Addressing the inauguration function, Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head (Strategic Programmes Large Initiatives and Coordinated Action Enabler- (SPLICE) Division), DST, said, “IIT Madras is the most appropriate to take up this kind of challenge. We have a lot of expectations from this Centre and am sure it will meet the expectations. We have 16 Principal Investigators working here. I am very sure the Centre will attain newer heights and have several new achievements. I congratulate all those who are part of his Centre.”
Further, Dr. Akhilesh Gupta added, “This is probably the only one of its kind Centre in South Asia on climate change impact in Coastal vulnerability. We need greater collaboration among institutes in Tamil Nadu and their functional linkages with society and policy makers to tackle this huge issue. This Centre’s objectives have been aligned with the National Missions and is working on objectives that are national priorities.”
Dr. Akhilesh Gupta said, “The DST has set up a State Climate Change Cell (CC) in Tamil Nadu and also a local chapter of Indian Meteorological Society. This CoE should work in partnership with State CC, IMS and IMD to sensitise the state government about the need to implement climate change adaption strategies, which might come as a part of strategic knowledge from this CoE.”
The overall vulnerability of coastal infrastructure and communities will also be studied to bring out the risk involved and for designing appropriate adaptation measures. Further, climate change and sea level rise impact on the availability of water resources and its quality due to enhanced saltwater intrusion and ineffective waste management will be investigated.