This Article is From Jun 19, 2015

Weakening Monsoon Could Lead to Drier Spells in India, Says a New Study

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New Delhi: The monsoon system as a whole is weakening in India, and could lead to more drought-like situations in the long run, says a new study. This comes after the Indian Meteorological Department's forecast of another dry spell in this year's monsoon, just like last year.

Scientists working at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune analysed more than a century of data, and found that the monsoon in India is steadily drying up. Monsoon in central India could have dried up by as much as 20 percent in the last 100 years, as it shows a weakening trend over the last century.

The lead climate research scientist at the institute, Roxy Mathew Koll says, "Our study focuses on long term trends and not year to year variation. At the moment, I can't be sure whether the long term warming over the Indian Ocean could be a cause of the particular case like this year's drought".

Using advanced technology, an Indo-French team of scientists also found that there is significant decreasing trend of the rains, especially over central India. The startling findings have been published in the highly regarded journal, Nature Communications.

Essentially, the monsoon is a giant interplay of the wind system that develops over the sub-continent; the land warms up more in the summer as compared to the oceans. New data from the study finds that the Indian Ocean has been warming up steadily, and the surface temperatures have increased by as much as 1.2 degrees Celsius. In comparison, the land has not warmed up as much, this thermal contrast is causing an imbalance so much so that the monsoon itself is being weakened.

The study suggests that rainfall over the waters of Indian Ocean has increased at the cost of rains over land, essentially a grim long term prognosis for India where large tracts of agriculture are still rain-fed.