Foto: Jeffry Surianto, Pexels
Foto: Jeffry Surianto, Pexels

New research collaboration aims to assist India in addressing climate challenges

As the world’s most populous country, India is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially along its coastline. A new research project led by the Nansen Center aims to develop knowledge for authorities and stakeholders working on climate adaptation.

India is home to 1.43 billion people, nearly 18% of the world’s population. Many of them are already experiencing the effects of climate change. The southern part of India is particularly vulnerable, with expected sea-level changes and waves leading to increased erosion and challenges for the ecosystem. Mangroves and seagrasses are likely to suffer, and harmful algal blooms may become more frequent. Coastal communities are therefore highly vulnerable, and any form of support to address future climate effects is crucial to reduce potential damages.

The Nansen Center has a longstanding and good collaboration with India. Last year, the Indian Minister of Earth Sciences visited, participating in discussions on future bilateral cooperation focusing on ocean, polar, and climate research. Much of the collaboration with India happens through the Nansen Environmental Research Centre India (NERCI), located in the Kerala region in southwestern India. Climate effects on the Kerala coast are central to a new research project led by Roshin P. Raj at the Nansen Center: C3-eKerala, which stands for “Climate change impact on the marine coastal ecosystem of Kerala“.

Raj and the project partners aim to determine how sea-level rise and waves will affect Kerala’s coastline and ecosystem. Their research is crucial for developing suitable climate adaptation measures. The researchers plan to create forecasts for annual changes in the coastline until 2050, an interactive map to support seagrass rehabilitation, and assess the likelihood of harmful algal blooms along the coast. This is achieved through interdisciplinary use of remote sensing data, in-situ data, modeling, and machine learning.

Project leader Roshin P. Raj on the project start: “C3-eKerala aims to assemble all stake holders to better understand the climate change impact on the marine coastal ecosystem of Kerala and improve adaptation plans and capacity to respond effectively to climate risks. We are excited to have just started this crucial project and are hopeful that our results will make a difference for the coastal communities in Kerala.”

The C3-eKerala project

In the project “Climate change impact on the marine coastal ecosystem of Kerala“, researchers from the Nansen Center and India investigate how climate change, through sea-level rise and waves, affects the coasts and ecosystems along the coast in the state of Kerala in India. They want to find out more about the changes so that authorities and societal actors can better plan climate adaptation measures. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and will continue until 2028. The Nansen Centers’ partners in the project are University of Bergen, NORCE, 7Analytics, NERCI, Foundation for Development Action, and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority.

What is NERCI?

The research center is called Nansen Environmental Research Centre India and was established in 1999 in Kochi, Kerala. NERCI was established as a non-commercial and accredited research company, with the Nansen Center and local Indian center staff as shareholders. The center focuses on studies of climate and marine ecosystems in southern Asia.