Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Climate change makes monsoon predictability a tougher task

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Monsoon predictability is turning tougher for the
weatherman year after year as rainfall goes erratic thanks to climate
change, admit city agro-climate experts.

Research by the city-based International Crops Research Institute in
Semi Arid Tropics (Icrisat) and Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural
University show that certain areas are gradually turning arid from
semi arid while other areas are receiving intensely heavy rainfall.
The monsoon has changed its regular pattern and has become highly
non-predictive, making the task of the weatherman even tougher.

“We are unable to predict the monsoon variability. The monsoon
prediction for the country overall may be near accurate, but as far as
local level prediction is concerned, the weatherman quite often fails
in the task. The monsoon for India was near accurate, but in Andhra
Pradesh and other places it was about 40 per cent deficient while some
States witnessed floods,” said Dr AVR Kesava Rao, agro-climate expert
and scientist at Icrisat.

Stating that the climate change is showing its telltale marks in the
form of erratic monsoons, Dr Kesava Rao said the non-predictability of
the monsoon ranged from non-uniform rainfall over a larger area to
year-to-year variability, with one year receiving good rainfall, and
another witnessing drought conditions.

“The heavy rainfall events have increased in the recent times. Though
the number of rainy days has not come down, the number of high
intensity rains has gone up. This is leading to soil erosion and poor
infiltration of rain water into the water table,” he added.

Research data from Icrisat’s watershed in Nemmikal village near
Suryapet revealed that the length of growing period has been shortened
by 15 days. Icrisat analysed the data since 1971 and found that there
is increase in the dryness of the local climate. The monsoon, he said
has lost its uniformity and areas within a district experience either
intense rainfall or drought conditions.

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