The rise in temperatures would increase flood events in frequency during the end of the century (2071-2100), according to Climate change and India: A 4 X4 assessment a sectoral and regional analysis for 2030s report. Key Findings

  • Temperatures in the Himalayan region are projected to rise up to 2.6 degrees Celsius and also increase in intensity by 2-12 percent by 2030s.
    • This will result in Increase Flood Events leading to large scale landslides and loss of agriculture area affecting food security, stated the report.
  • As a result of the changing climate, monsoon rainfall in 2018 was the sixth-lowest since 1901, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). It was also the sixth-warmest year since 1901 when the recording started.
  • Monsoons in 2019 have also been recorded as the slowest progressing in at least 12 years, IMD data showed.
    • Till July 7, 2019, IMD recorded a rainfall deficit of 21 percent, while June recorded the second-lowest rainfall in the past seven years after the 42 percent deficit in 2014.
    • Moreover, 20 states in the country witnessed deficient rainfall, while three were in ‘large deficient’ category from June 1 to July 7 this year.
Deficit rainfall and floods
  • The rise in average global temperatures have led to a worrying trend of no rain for long periods and then a sudden bout of excessive rainfall, causing extreme weather events, particularly floods which took lives, destroyed homes and agricultural yields as well as resulted in huge revenue losses.
  • Global rainfall data for over the last century also shows an alarming trend. The number of rainy days is decreasing while intense rainfall events of 10-15 centimeter per day are increasing.
    • This means that more amount of water is pouring down in lesser time. For example, globally, 50 percent of annual precipitation (rain, snow, and ice) is received in just 11 days.
Trends in India
  • Widespread extreme rain events over central India have increased three-fold in the 66-year period between 1950 and 2015, showed a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
    • A 10-30 percent increase in rainfall events over the region where more than 150 mm of rain is registered in a day has been occurring despite a general weakening of monsoon circulation, it noted.
  • Despite the scant rainfall, 1.4 million people have been affected by the floods due to heavy rainfall across the North East in the last week. Incessant rainfall in the past 72 hours has cut areas due to flooding.
    • The flood situation, according to a release by IMD, may worsen. Heavy to very heavy showers have been predicted across Assam and Meghalaya in the next 48 hours. Another 2 million have been displaced in Bihar due to rising floodwaters, media reported.
    • Other states experiencing floods include Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura. Parts of Maharashtra have been put on high alert, media reported.
  • Earlier in July, five days of torrential rains led to floods in Mumbai city.
    • From June 20 to June 26, Mumbai had received only 8.4 mm rainfall, a deficit of 95 percent.
    • But, extreme rainfall in the last week of June caused floods in the city. Similarly, in 2018, a deficit in rainfall for an extended period and then intense rainfall caused floods, landslides, and flash floods.
  • In 2016, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan faced a drought-like situation when floods occurred in July-August, while Bihar and Assam — two states that are facing their worst floods in almost three decades, had deficit rainfall that monsoon.
  • Another study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, had predicted an increase in extreme rainfall events in Southern and Central India and had linked it to global warming due to climate change.
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