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Six topics of Climate Change which can rule the Research World in the Next Five decades

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Uncontrolled extraction of natural resources and ever-growing population has caused the climate to warm which has resulted in global warming. Due to global warming, there is a change observed in climatic patterns in different parts of the World. As a result : 

"Today's kids will experience 3 times as many climate disasters as their grandparents", Lake Powell and different similar pondage hydropower plants can lose the "Ability to Generate Hydropower" within few years, Foods like bananas, Avocados, Coffee, Chocolate, Wine will extinct in the near future, the frequency of extreme events has increased in the last decades and the trend will intensify in the near future, the occurrence of viral diseases is predicted to create endemic like conditions, and many other abnormal events will soon become normal as per numerous reports being published by different national and international organizations related to climate change.

Keeping in view of the above developments, it can be expected that in the coming decade, the number of research studies on climate change will increase and due to this demand, the topic of climate change will be the most sought-after research area. The following six topics, that falls under climate change research, may become the most significant :

Prioritization of the Area of Reforestation and afforestation

Reforestation and afforestation are the procedure of re-planting or planting trees, or sowing seeds, in a "once a forest" or barren land devoid of any trees with the aim to create a forest. "While reforestation is increasing the number of trees in an existing forest, afforestation is the creation of a new forest". Both Re and Afforestation are highly significant to conserve biodiversity. However, the change in climate in many places of the World and scarcity of water has imbibed the process of desertification in forest lands. The burgeoning population is acting as a catalyst. Although, there are very few studies on climate change and its impact on afforestation/reforestation projects studies on the prioritization of lands for re or afforestation is very rare among the published research papers of the last three to five years. But an objective process for prioritization of land can ensure optimal utilization of funds allocated for mitigation of climate change impacts. Budding researchers can contemplate participating in this topic of research and innovate solutions to this problem.

Future of coal

A roadmap that specifies the sequence of coal plant retirement is required to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goals." The contribution of coal to climate change is well-known and accounts for "40% of global CO2 emissions from energy use". "A forecasted rebound in 2021 could be short-lived if no further increases in demand are observed in between 2021-2025. In spite of the progress to reduce the reliance on coal and its byproducts, the estimated use till 2025 is not negative. Globally, about 8 million people are employed and US$900 billion revenue per year is earned by the coal industry. The probable procedure which can reduce the use of coal without disturbing the employability and profitability of the coal industry has the potential to become one of the five most popular topics of research in the coming decade.

Climatic Vulnerability on Agricultural Sector

"Agricultural vulnerability to climate change is the function of characteristics of climate variability, magnitude, and rate of variation within the agricultural system, and the system's sensitivity and adaptive capacity, and it is the degree to which the agricultural system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with". Agriculture is vulnerable to climate change. It contributes to climate change because it is a source of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Water scarcity due to the change in a regular pattern of climate and constant conversion of land use from forest to agriculture and agriculture to urbanization increases the susceptibility of the agriculture sector to climate-induced vulnerability like lack of water, reduction of consumer base, increase in the price of seed, etc. The procedure to identify the vulnerability and mitigate the same can be an interesting topic of research with respect to the present situation and predicted conditions in near future.

Identification of Drought and its Predictions

"A drought is a sustained period of low rainfall so that soil moisture is insufficient for plant growth". Based on the time of the year, insufficient rainfall for two to three months can cause drought in a watershed. The absence of adequate precipitation cause reduced soil moisture or groundwater, diminished streamflow, crop damage, and a general water shortage which are the characteristics of drought. "Generally, three types of methods have been used for drought prediction: statistical, dynamical, and hybrid methods". But the procedure of identification of drought is still complex compare to the same for flood predictions. But in recent years due to the impact of climatic abnormality the complexity of the process of drought identification has been increased manifold. That is why innovative methods can be devised to solve this problem which has a direct impact on the socio-economic status of the dependent population of a watershed.

Climate change impact on Quality of Water

The climate change affecting water quality is due to the ambient (air) temperature and the increase of extreme hydrological events. This phenomenon globally leads to the concentration increase of dissolved substances in water but also to the concentration decrease of dissolved gases. Except for very few studies(Whitehead,2009.;Olaoye,2021;Salimi,2021, etc.) there is a gap in research on this aspect of climate change vulnerabilities.

Human-Animal Conflict

Climate change is escalating the human-wildlife conflict by aggravating "resource scarcity and forcing people and wildlife to share increasingly crowded spaces". This conflict in recent years has increased in frequency and severity, but "the complex connections among climate dynamics, ecological dynamics, and social dynamics contributing to the heightened conflict have yet to be fully appreciated".Quantification of the impacts of climate change on the livestock sector is not possible due to the complex interactions between the climate and livestock of a specific location, however, its impact on the "supply chain, from farm production to processing operations, storage, transport, retailing and human consumption" can be approximated which was rarely explored by the researchers. These research gaps can be utilized by the scholars of the next decade to establish their careers as well as contribute to this significant vulnerability of climate change. 

The above topics of research under climate change can be opted by the maturing researchers for identification and mitigation of the climatic vulnerability with novel and innovative methods conceptualized by them. The possibility is immensely awaiting smart utilization.

Thanking you,
Dr.Mrinmoy Majumder
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