Impact of Climate Change on Indian Monsoon

Impact of Climate Change on Indian Monsoon
Posted on 19-08-2023

Impact of Climate Change on the Indian Monsoon

A recent study featured in Earth System Dynamics has projected that with every one-degree Celsius increase in temperature, the Indian monsoon's rainfall is expected to rise by approximately 5%. However, this surge in rainfall can pose grave challenges to the Indian economy, given that over half of the population's livelihoods are directly linked to agriculture.

Furthermore, climate change has led to substantial fluctuations in the spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall patterns. The erratic behavior of the monsoon system has led to occurrences of floods, droughts, and other adverse weather events in various parts of the country.

Key Points about the India Meteorological Department (IMD)

  1. Established in 1875.

  2. Operates under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  3. Mandated with tasks encompassing meteorological observations, weather prediction, and seismology.

  4. Engages in and fosters research in meteorology and related disciplines.

  5. Launched the System of Aerosol Monitoring and Research (SAMAR) in January 2016. SAMAR focuses on studying aspects like Black carbon concentration, radiative attributes of aerosols, environmental visibility, and their impacts on climate.

  6. Pioneered the development and maintenance of its own satellite system, marking a first for a weather agency in a developing nation.

  7. Among the six globally recognized Regional Specialised Meteorological Centres of the World Weather Watch's Tropical Cyclone Programme, established by the World Meteorological Organization.

  8. Serves as the regional focal point for forecasting, naming, and disseminating warnings regarding tropical cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean region above the Equator.

Climate change is no longer a distant and hypothetical threat; it is a tangible reality confronting us directly. The increasing frequency of extreme weather events is swiftly becoming the new norm, demanding immediate recognition of the urgency at hand. The recent onslaught of the Indian monsoon, marked by unprecedented rainfall, flash floods, and landslides, serves as a stark reminder of the tangible impact that climate change is having on our lives.

For years, the scientific community has sounded alarms, and now the evidence is glaring. The repercussions of global warming, including rising temperatures, erratic precipitation patterns, and a surge in extreme weather occurrences, are undeniable. The intricate web of our environment is fraying before our eyes, and it falls upon us to take decisive action.

Meteorologists and climate experts attribute the ongoing deluge of heavy rains to a convergence of factors, including the alignment of atmospheric systems and shifts in monsoon behaviors.

Insights from Experts

According to Mahesh Palawat, Vice-President of Meteorology and Climate Change at Skymet Weather, "The current bout of exceptionally heavy rains is attributed to the convergence of three distinct weather systems. However, the shifting monsoon patterns driven by global warming have played a crucial role. Both land and sea temperatures have exhibited a consistent rise, leading to heightened moisture retention within the air over extended periods. Thus, the influence of climate change on the escalation of extreme weather events in India has become more pronounced with each passing year."

Global warming's role in intensifying these extreme incidents is undeniable. Escalating land and sea temperatures have augmented the atmosphere's capacity to hold moisture, resulting in more intense and prolonged rainfall. The fallout is devastating, witnessed in the form of destructive floods and landslides that ravage various regions of the country.

Scientific Insights

Numerous reports and research undertakings underscore the far-reaching impact of climate change on India's monsoon system. However, the ramifications of global warming stretch beyond just the monsoon season, extending to atmospheric and oceanic phenomena, further magnifying the consequences of climate change. Elements like El Niño, wildfires, heightened North Atlantic Ocean phases, and abnormal warming in the Arabian Sea all contribute to the amplification of extreme weather occurrences.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences cautions that monsoonal rainfall is expected to intensify in the future, affecting larger expanses due to increased atmospheric moisture content. The frequency of localized heavy rainfall instances has already witnessed a significant upswing across central India. Greenhouse gas emissions, aerosols, atmospheric stability, and urbanization are all integral to these shifts.

Clear Evidence

The evidence is irrefutable: human activities have triggered shifts in regional climate dynamics. The ongoing surge in global surface and oceanic temperatures has spurred greater evaporation rates, intensifying rainfall in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The continuous inflow of moisture from the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea fuels these weather systems, culminating in extreme weather events.

Furthermore, global factors like Arctic amplification are contributing to this equation. The alarming pace of polar ice melt is disrupting atmospheric circulation patterns, impacting weather in mid-latitude and tropical regions. This interconnection emphasizes the imperative of continued research and a holistic understanding of the far-reaching implications of climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued stern warnings about the escalation of extreme weather events due to global warming. Projections indicate that India could experience a 20 percent surge in extreme rainfall incidents, resulting in floods, depressions, and more frequent cyclonic events. As temperatures climb, compound extreme events, once uncommon, will become more prevalent.

Parting Reflections

Taking immediate action to confront climate change and its repercussions is not a choice but a necessity. Complacency is a luxury we can no longer afford. Both individual and collective efforts are pivotal as we transition toward a sustainable and eco-conscious way of life. It is imperative to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, embrace renewable energy sources, conserve water, and prioritize sustainable urban development.

The consequences of climate change are manifesting in the present, and the window of opportunity to avert further catastrophe is rapidly closing. The responsibility to leave behind a habitable and thriving planet for future generations rests with us. This moment is ripe for making a difference, holding ourselves accountable for our actions, and adopting a lifestyle in harmony with the environment.

The time to act is now. Together, we can mitigate the repercussions of climate change and secure a sustainable future for ourselves and the generations that follow. There is no need to await additional disasters; the moment to act is today, paving the way for a better tomorrow.


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