In the backdrop of global warming, brace for more intense, localised rainstorms and floods, especially if you live in central India.
The frequency and intensity of extreme rain events are on a "significant rising trend" since the last 50 years, reported monsoon researchers from Pune and Bangalore in the international journal Science on Friday. They also warned of a 'substantial increase in hazards' related to heavy rain over central India in future.
"We have established, without any doubt, that extreme rain events are increasing over India in a warming environment," BN Goswami, director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, and the paper’s lead author, told the Hindustan Times from Pune.
The authors said they have cracked a longstanding monsoon puzzle — why the average total seasonal rainfall has remained stable in India over the last 130 years, despite global warming.
"We found that the number of extreme rain events is increasing but the number of weak, moderate rain events is significantly decreasing," said Goswami. "Both factors together ensure that the total quantum of India’s seasonal rainfall stays stable."
The pattern emerged from rainfall data from 1951-2000 in 1,803 rain gauge stations of which over 1,000 are across central India. While earlier studies have said the mountainous west coast will face an increase in extreme rainfall events, this team focused on central India to establish the trend’s link with global warming.
"Often geography alone, like the Western Ghats, can influence or produce extreme rain events, making it difficult to link them with global warming," said Goswami. "So, we focused on central India."
The number of severe cyclonic storms over the north Indian Ocean has also increased since the past three decades, said the authors, who are also from the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in Bangalore.