Extreme weather to hit agriculture, say climate experts

'These erratic patterns in the monsoon have a huge impact on the agriculture in the country which is still largely rain-fed,' a climate expert said.
Last Updated : 27 July 2023, 10:57 IST

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Amid soaring temperatures and record-breaking heavy rains across the world, Indian experts feel that erratic patterns of climate would have an impact on agriculture.

"Monsoon rainfall patterns over India have seen a climatic shift in recent decades. The most significant change is that instead of having moderate rains spread out through the monsoon season, we have long dry periods intermittently with short spells of heavy rains. Hence this causes floods and droughts in the same season and occasionally in the same region or different parts of India. We saw this pattern manifesting during the current year also,” said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, Climate Scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.

According to him, even though all-India average rainfall is close to normal, the regional rainfall during the season so far came with deficits and floods. “These erratic patterns in the monsoon have a huge impact on the agriculture in the country which is still largely rain-fed,” he added.

“Climate change continues to increase Monsoon variability to another level with each passing year. There has been a steep rise in extremely heavy rain events, while the number of rainy days has reduced and dry-day periods have increased. Monsoon had delayed onset, and progress was also sluggish, but that could not stop the extreme rain events in Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, and now Gujarat,” said Mahesh Palawat, Vice-President, Meteorology and Climate Change, Skymet Weather.

He also said warming of oceans, especially the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, has led to increased incursion of moisture in the atmosphere over India, especially over Indo-Gangetic Plains. “This has increased the capacity of air to hold more moisture, leading to extremely heavy rainfall. In the warming world, these extreme rain events will become more often, especially during the Monsoon,” aded Palawat.

“The pace of global warming is now accelerated and we need urgent action — as these extreme conditions will intensify in the near future. Climate action and adaptation at local (panchayat) levels should go parallel with mitigation at global and national levels. I am concerned that there is less focus on local adaptation. Instead of waiting for weather forecasts every year, we need to be disaster-proof locally, based on sub-district wise assessment,” said Dr Koll.

Published 27 July 2023, 10:57 IST

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