Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Indian monsoon getting both wetter and drier

  • Written by  Olivia Edward
  • Published in Climate
The result of an Indian Monsoon The result of an Indian Monsoon Shutterstock
01 Jun
2014
Significant changes are taking place in the patterns of extreme wet and dry events in central India, increasing the risk of drought and flood in one of the world’s most densely populated regions

A team of scientists from Stanford University in California analysed data on rainfall during the Indian monsoon gathered by the Indian Meteorological Department and other sources over a 60-year period, comparing peak monsoon rainfall patterns during two time periods – 1951–80 and 1981–2011 – and during the peak months of July and August. 

The results suggested that although the average total rainfall during the monsoon season has declined, rainfall during the peak monsoon months has become more variable, with increases in the intensity of wet spells and in the frequency of dry spells.

‘The statistical techniques show that the changes in these characteristics are robust and that these changes are unlikely to happen purely by chance,’ said Deepti Singh, the study’s lead author.

‘There are many predictions that global warming should cause heavier downpours and more frequent dry spells,’ said one of the study’s authors, Noah Diffenbaugh. ‘That’s what we’ve found here, but India is a complex region, so we want to be sure before we point the finger at global warming or any other cause.’

This story was published in the June 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

Around 75 million birds are kept as pets in Indonesia,…

Wildlife

Migratory animals are actively adjusting their traditions to cope with…

Climate

How many trees can you plant in a day?

Polar

New analysis of NASA data has led to the discovery…

Climate

Naomi Klein is back and calling for a new world…

Geophoto

The move away from film has meant more pictures being…

Oceans

As the ocean looks set to get busier due to…

Climate

A report details how tropical storms are fuelling the rise…

Wildlife

After years of trials, talks, tweaks and test runs, EarthRanger…

Climate

Nationalism might gain political points in certain parts of the…

Geophoto

With guaranteed sunshine, bright blue skies and not a hint…

Oceans

A review of coral-saving methods is helping communities decide which…

Polar

A seven-year study of Patagonia’s ice sheets has revealed the…

Climate

The environmental impact of Bitcoin is higher than its virtual…

Geophoto

With a camera in everyone’s pocket, the once rarified world…

Climate

The idea of the Earth as a self-regulating, living organism…

Oceans

A temporary fishing ban has been imposed by the European…

Wildlife

A look at the contribution of hippos to the savannah…

Wildlife

The new app encourages young children to connect with the…