PAU study shows dip in rain volume during kharif season
With the onset of paddy sowing season, concern regarding the depleting water table has also resurfaced. The School of Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in its recently conducted study found that in the last 21 years, monsoon in Punjab remained mostly below normal.
The average rainfall remained 19 to 59 % lower than normal in at least 10 of the total 21 year, while nine of these years saw the average rainfall remained 19% below normal. The state recorded normal or above normal rainfall for just two years in this period.
Dr Prabhjyot Kaur Sidhu, head of the department of Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology, said during the study, it was found that the dip in rainfall was due to cloud formation over the region. Cloud formation is usually witnessed during the kharif season (paddy season) when a huge amount of underground water is used for irrigation.”
“The formation of cloud cover for an extended period has an adverse effect on the growth and photosynthesis process of the crop,” said Dr Sidhu.
The study further stated that for the past four decades, the region had been receiving eight and a half hours of sun energy but now it has reduced to seven and a half hours. However, heat and humidity has increased.
Variability in monsoon showers is one of the major concerns for the agriculture sector in particular and other sectors in general, said Dr Sidhu.
The data shows that in Punjab, rainfall received during four months from June to September in northeastern parts such as Nawanshahr, central parts such as Ludhiana and southwestern parts such as Bathinda were highly erratic and variable.
Over the past two decades (2000-2020), Ballowal Saunkhri centre of PAU in Nawanshahr which falls under sub mountain undulating zone, received a higher amount of rainfall for most of the years during the monsoon season as compared to Ludhiana and Bathinda.
The normal duration of monsoon in Punjab is 77 days-- from June 1 to September 15. From 2002 to 2019, the duration was reduced only for three years, i.e., 2002 (13 days), 2017 (03 days) and 2018 (11 days).
But the monsoon rainfall was reduced up to 19% during nine years (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2019 and 2020) and 20% during nine years (2002, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014 to 2017).
While in 2004, 2012 and 2014, the state received 42, 46 and 50 % less rainfall respectively.
“The monsoon rain plays important role in agriculture and this variability in rainfall can cause crop losses in some regions. Though the duration of monsoon winds in Punjab is invariably extended by seven or more days, rainfall is not well distributed. Also, a sudden heavy shower of rainfall received in a short span of time does not help the crops,” said Dr Sidhu.