Climate change has emerged as the most pressing global challenge of the 21st century. There is an increasing understanding that climate change transcends political boundaries and affects the whole global population. Global temperature is soaring, which has already been now 1oC higher than the pre-industrial level. If the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continues, then the global temperature will rise to 1.5oC above the pre-industrial level between 2030 and 2052. It will directly affect water vapour concentrations, clouds, precipitation patterns, and stream flow patterns, which are all related to the water cycle. Sea level has been reported to be increasing at a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/year while Sea Surface Temperature (SST) showed an increase of 0.6 to 1oC over the last century whereby storms are able to absorb more energy from the resultant warmer oceans causing extreme weather events, heavy rainfall and storm surges, leading to devastating coastal damage and loss of lives. Climate change has a dramatic effect on natural ecosystems and environment often leading to acceleration in biodiversity loss. These impacts will have a knock-on effect on many communities and sectors that depend on natural resources, such as agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, energy and tourism. Our weather patterns are also changing increasing the risk of both heavy rains followed by extreme droughts as experienced in some of the tropical countries including India. A focussed discussion by the experts pooled internationally on climate change and accompanying risks of both heavy rains and extreme droughts has been found essential in understanding the factors underlying such crisis. Research findings have shown that climate change is also altering aquatic ecosystems, driving shifts in physical and chemical processes, ecological communities and the distribution and abundance of commercially important species. Consequently, the resources and services from the inland and marine ecosystems will be impacted and everyone, who are benefitted from these goods and services are vulnerable. Ocean warming and acidification can also affect growth and reproduction processes of many marine organisms, which may reduce stock availability of several commercial species. Fisheries and aquaculture sectors are crucial resources in terms of ensuring food security which are also increasingly vulnerable, due to their close relationship and multifaceted interaction with the climate change effects. The Conference will also advance our understanding on the vulnerability and resilience of the coastal communities who are depending on the coast and coastal resources for their well being and dwelling, and will also discuss about the societal consideration of risks, opportunities and actions needed.
Against this backdrop, the School of Industrial Fisheries, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, India and Department of Fisheries, Government of Kerala, in association with various ministries of the State of Kerala and Union Government of India are jointly organising an International Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Hydrological cycle, Ecosystems, Fisheries and Food Security (ClimFishCon 2020), during 11-14 February 2020 at Kochi, India.