As the spectre of drought looms over the country, a new study has brought more dampening news on the monsoon rains.
The study by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology scientists, published in the journal Nature Communications, says monsoon rains over central India have decreased significantly in the last 100 years partly because of rapid warming in the Indian Ocean.
Scientists say all oceans are warming, but the Indian Ocean has warmed more than others ,because of global warming and an increase in the intensity and frequency of rain-disrupting weather pattern El Nino that changes atmospheric circulation and weakens winds over the ocean.
“It is an important study that says how the warming of the Indian Ocean is one of the reasons for the weakening of the monsoon,” IITM director Dr M Rajeevan told HT.
The monsoon is the lifeline of Asia’s third-largest economy where millions of people make a living from farming. The weather office has warned of lower rains this year, dealing a blow to farmers already grappling with the effects of unseasonal showers in February and March.
“A warming Indian Ocean has resulted in surplus rains over the ocean at the cost of the monsoon rains over land, simultaneously drying the Indian subcontinent,” said Dr. Roxy Mathew Koll, the lead author of the study, which is part of an Indo-French collaboration under the National Monsoon Mission set up by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
“The question remains on whether the monsoon will decrease further. The critical role of the warm Indian Ocean deserves special attention for its decisive effect on the food security of a large fraction of the world’s population, and its role in inducing a drought over the Indian subcontinent.”
Read:India’s clear, present challenge: How we can drought-proof economy