by Ruchira Ghosh, TERI University, India
Professor Mukand S Babel is a professor and coordinator of water engineering and management programme at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. His topic, “Climate risks and adaptation for Bangkok Metropolitan region” was quite relevant and compatible with the Young Researchers’ School theme of 2013, “Partnerships in Water and Biodiversity for Sustainable Development”. The lecture started with a general introduction of climate change and its impact, gradually narrowing down to specific research conducted on climate impact assessment of Bangkok city. As Bangkok is among the top 10 vulnerable cities of the world that are likely to get affected by coastal flooding due to climate change, it was quite interesting for us to study about Bangkok city, which can be replicated in other coastal cities considering local variables. The presentation was based on research carried out in systematically assessing climate related impacts and vulnerabilities in Bangkok in 2050. Professor Babel also illustrated about approaches adopted by his research team for assessing climate risks and its impact like,
a) Determining climate variables at the level of the city/watershed through downscaling techniques
b) Estimating impacts and vulnerability through hydro-meteorological modelling, scenario analysis, and GIS mapping
c) Preparing a damage/loss assessment and identification of adaptation options
Students were quite active raising questions about climate variables, how to cope with losses, estimating impacts and vulnerability, structural and non-structural flood adaptation measures etc. Since Bangkok is historically notorious for flood and, as predicted by IPCC, coastal cities like Bangkok are vulnerable to climate change risks such as sea level rise, altered precipitation, runoffs etc., the talk was quite pertinent. In conclusion, the lecture was knowledgeable and yet interesting.