The monsoon touches all of us in one way or another. We tend to attribute variations in rainfall to climate change. Should we?
An excellent interview of physicist Madhavan Nair RAJEEVAN, now Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences by Amit Bhattacharya of TOI has many specifics. So, if monsoon patterns fascinate you as much as they do me, check out the sum of what Nair says:
– There has been little change in the average rainfall in India over 150 years. However, there are regional variations – eg more in Maharashtra, Gujarat but less in Orissa, Chhattisgarh.
– ‘Extreme events’ – torrential downpour, storms – have increased across much of India except in a handful of places such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh
– There are multi-decadal cycles of 60 years made up of high- and low-rainfall periods. We are going through the latter. The 1990s were good but since 2000 we have had five droughts. This will go on for “the next few years”. (Wish Nair had specified how many years that is)
– Each monsoon is interrupted by dry spells. These are growing from an average of 8 days to 10. So, the same amount of rain as before now comes down in fewer days. That is why it rains less often but more heavily. This directly impact agriculture.