Anirban Mukhopadhyay: Examining migration and adaptation in deltas

March 10, 2015
Marissa Van Epp

Anirban Mukhopadhyay

Anirban Mukhopadhyay is a researcher with a consortium on Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA). DECCMA is one of four consortia that the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) is supporting to conduct research and policy engagement in climate change hot spots.

Hailing from the Ganges Bramhaputra Meghna delta, Anirban Mukhopadhyay describes himself as “one of the delta people.” He is intimately familiar with this geographical feature, having not only lived in deltas but also studied them intensively. Following master’s degrees in marine science and remote sensing and GIS, Anirban completed his PhD in multi-hazard coastal vulnerability modeling. His last project was with a program on Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation, modeling the impact of climate change and sea level rise on the Sundarbans mangroves in Bangladesh. He was then excited to join the DECCMA team based at Jadavpur University in India.

Research and knowledge exchange on migration and adaptation

For DECCMA, Mukhopadhyay's research focuses on understanding the vulnerability of poor populations to climate change in deltas, and how this can affect migration patterns. Using information on climate hazards, satellite and census data on land use, and land cover changes as well as primary data collection such as land surveying, he assesses where migration is likely to happen in the future.

DECCMA is the largest project Mukhopadhyay has worked on. “It’s a great experience for me,” he says, noting the resources and support he has access to. “Whenever I am stuck, there is someone somewhere to help me,” he says. For him, access to researchers working in different geographical areas gives him the opportunity to compare his work across different environments and scenarios. “The most interesting part of this project is the exchange of thoughts,” he says. “I think, in this way, science will reach its optimum level.” This sharing of thoughts, findings, traditions, and subjects between researchers and institutions also enriches CARIAA’s publications and other outputs.

Using research to improve lives

Mukhopadhyay is clear about the impetus for his research. Population density in these deltas is the highest in the world, and residents are affected by the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, changes in runoff, and extreme weather events. He hopes his research will lead to a clearer understanding of migration in deltas and its links with adapting to these impacts. Government, policymakers, and most importantly the delta residents, stand to benefit from the knowledge gained.

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This article is part of the series CARIAA Young Researchers.

Marissa Van Epp is a writer based in New York City.

CARIAA is a joint initiative of the UK’s Department for International Development and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. The program runs until 2019.