HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Monsoon has grown more erratic in 30 years: Study

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 27, 2014
First Published: 23:11 IST(27/6/2014) | Last Updated: 23:14 IST(27/6/2014)

The unpredictability of Indian monsoon has escalated in the past 30 years with increase in frequency of dry spells and intensity of wet spells, a new study has found, hinting at global warming having an impact on the Indian water-cycle.

The study by Stanford University comes at the time when the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted below normal monsoon. The summer monsoon is responsible for 85% of India’s annual precipitation and is vital for the country’s agricultural sector.

Stanford’s Woods Institute for Environment statistically analysed IMD’s monsoon data for a period between 1950 and 1980 and then 1981 to 2011.

“The statistical techniques show that the changes in these characteristics are robust and that these changes are unlikely to happen purely by chance,” said the research paper published in journal Nature Climate Change.

The team also found changes in the atmosphere — such as winds and moisture — could be responsible for the changes in wet and dry spells.

Senior author Noah Diffenbaugh, a senior fellow at the institute, said that there were many that global warming should cause heavier downpours and more frequent dry spells. “That’s what we’ve found here, but India is a complex region, so we want to be sure before we point the finger at global warming or any other cause,” he added.

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