There was a time when, as soon as we neared the month of June, the entire country used to be drenched in monsoon showers. And it officially marked the arrival of the monsoon season after a long spell of summer. But, now this no longer stands true. The impact of climate change on monsoon has left a pivotal impact on the amount of rainfall India receives. Now, we are experiencing unseasonal rainfall, cyclones, and even a long spell of droughts.
Recently, the state of Gujarat witnessed one of the worst cyclones India has ever faced. Cyclone Biporjoy, which originated in the Arabian Sea, made a landfall in Surat. This cyclone left a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people of Gujarat as well as Maharashtra.
Monsoons are seasonal wind patterns that bring about a distinct shift in weather conditions, primarily characterised by heavy rainfall. In the Indian context, monsoon refers specifically to the Southwest Monsoon, which typically arrives in June and lasts until September. The Southwest Monsoon is vital for not just farmers but also plays a crucial role in replenishing water sources and reservoirs.
The monsoon season in India is formed due to intense solar heating in late spring as the solar maximum moves north from the equator. Due to which the northern Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are warmed, along with the plains of north India and the Tibetan Plateau.
In India, the daily and sub-daily precipitation extremes have increased in recent decades and are likely to rise as the climate continues to warm.
According to scientists think that a mixture of changes in land use — including deforestation and urbanisation — nationally and man-made global climate change are affecting India’s weather patterns
India being an agrarian country, almost 70% of India’s monsoon is vital for the agriculture sector. With the majority of farmers, mainly depending on monsoon water to irrigate the lands. But over these years, the impact of climate change on the monsoon has changed the course of annual rainfall and it has left a mark on the other activities dependent on the same.
Climate change can lead to changes in the timing, duration, and distribution of monsoon rainfall. There may be shifts in the onset and withdrawal dates of monsoons, resulting in changes to the agricultural calendar and water availability.
Climate change can impact monsoon wind patterns thereby affecting the rainfall patterns. Also, warmer temperatures due to climate change can result in increased moisture content in the atmosphere, leading to more intense rainfall during monsoons. This can further escalate to floods and disasters.
According to a study published a few months back, the North Bay of Bengal received more rain than any part of India in the last 10,000 years. The changes in the dynamics of the Indian monsoon were attributed to solar insolation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole.
Over the years, global warming has turned the Indian monsoon erratic and unpredictable.
According to a study published in Journal Science Advances in 2021, scientists analysed changes in the past million years to conclude that monsoon is set for the worse. “The projected monsoon response to ongoing ice melt and rising carbon dioxide levels is fully consistent with dynamics of the past 0.9 million years,” the study added.