Why the recent rain is no relief?

Context: The first two days of May have been unusually wet. Except the north eastern states, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, the entire country has received plenty of rain, with some areas in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh getting as much as 10 to 15 times the expected rainfall. This exceptional spell of rainfall was the result of a number of relatively local weather phenomena over different parts of the country coming together at the same time.

Several reports, including carbon brief, have confirmed that globally, the month of March this year was the second warmest March ever since the beginning of records in the mid-1800s. The year 2023 was shaping up to become one of the top four warmest years on record, citing the rapid development of the El Nino event, which has an overall warming impact on the planet. 

How Global warming and Climate change are affecting India?

Temperature and rainfall, both are getting impacted and have regional variations:

Changes in Temperatures:

  • According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences average annual mean temperatures in India had risen by about 0.7 degree Celsius from 1900 which is significantly less than the global rise in temperatures, which has exceeded 1 degree Celsius for several years now.
  • India is likely to warm in the range of 2.4 to 4.4 degree Celsius from the current levels by the end of the scenario.
  • Tropical Indian oceans: Sea surface temperatures have risen by almost 1 degree Celsius between 1950 and 2015.
  • The warming over India is not uniform across regions:
    • Himachal, Goa and Kerala : Temperatures have increased at the rate of more than 1 degree Celsius.
    • North Eastern states: Temperatures have climbed at the rate of more than 0.7 degree Celsius.
    • Eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha: have experienced the least warming. 
  • Goa has seen the maximum increasing trend in annual rainfall. Its rainfall has increased at the rate of 21 mm over a 100 year period.
  • Sikkim: The year 2022 was the warmest year.
  • Karnataka and Telangana: were cooler than normal in 2022, though only marginally. 

Changes in rainfall:

  • Monsoon rainfall in India has been surplus by around 7% this year though with extreme inequity. 
  • Central and southern India saw a sharp surge in rainfall. Rains in Central India were surplus by 20% and in southern India by 25%, with the last month seeing several instances of flooding in Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. 
  • On the other hand, large parts of U. P., Bihar, Odisha have seen large deficits. 
  • The east and northeast of India have reported a 17% shortfall.
  • The northwest part has seen 2% shortfall. 
  • Overall monsoon has remained within the normal range of long period average.

Note: These data can be used by the students while analysing the impact of climate change over India. Analysis must be quantitative as well as qualitative. Here quantitative aspects have been provided. 

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