MAIRS is the first integrated regional study of the ESSP and addresses coupled human and natural processes in the monsoon Asia region.
Almost all aspects of societal and economic activities in monsoon Asia are critically dependent on monsoon climate and its variability. On the other hand, there are indications that human activities, especially those associated with economic development may be having a detectable impact on the monsoon system.
MAIRS is addressing the following key questions:
- Is the Asian monsoon system resilient to this human transformation of land, water, and air?
- Are societies in the region becoming more, or less vulnerable to changes in the Asian monsoon?
- What are the likely consequences of changes in monsoon Asia on the global climate system?
To start answering these questions MAIRS has identified four vulnerable geographic zones and key integrated study themes for each zone:
- Coastal zones: rapid transformation of land and marine resources
- High mountain zones: multiple stresses on ecosystems and biophysical resources
- Semi-arid zones: vulnerability of ecosystems under changing climate and land use
- Urban zones: Changes in resource use and emissions due to rapid urbanization
The Scientific Steering Committee has also created a fifth working group to address ‘Modelling and Scenarios building’. It intends to support the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report to create scenarios for monsoon Asia. These scenarios should also serve ESSP and its partner programs.