Pattern of Indian monsoon has been witnessing changes in recent decades. Examine in the light of recent studies linking the phenomenon to climate change. Discuss the efforts being taken to mitigate the effects of change in monsoon patterns.

Monsoon refers to the seasonal reversal of winds that occurs over the Indian subcontinent and brings along with it rainfall during southwest summer monsoon and northeast winter monsoon.

Recent changes in monsoon pattern due to climate change:

  • Climate change is making the monsoons more erratic and violent.
  • Low-pressure area builds up over the Arabian sea due to global warming. This causes heavy rainfall in western ghats.
  • Climate change is leading to more instances of cloud bursts in Himalayan states.
  • Changes occurring in the arrival and retreat of monsoon are causing an overall delay in the onset of all other seasons.
  • The recent assessment of climate change over the Indian Ocean region by the ministry of earth sciences lays out that the state of monsoon circulations has weakened in western ghats and Indo-Gangetic plains.
  • Simultaneously, incidents of localized heavy rainfall have increased.
  • The duration of dry spells between rain in the monsoon season has also increased.
  • Various studies have predicted an increase of 14% in monsoon rainfall by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions remain high.
  • Global warming is also leading to changes in sea surface temperature. This has strong links with monsoon patterns. The land-sea temperature gradient weakens this drying monsoon circulation.
  • Cases of marine terrestrial heat waves also weaken monsoon circulations.

Mitigation efforts:

  • In this regard, India’s commitment to the Paris agreement, efforts towards net neutrality, reducing GHGs, and commitment to the Bonn challenge are promising.
  • COP26 at Glasgow and efforts of the global community towards sustainable development and climate financing must be sincerely pursued.

The recently brought out “Vulnerability Index” for every district by the ministry of earth sciences brings out vulnerability due to climate-linked hazards. Accordingly, state and community coordinated efforts must be put in place to reduce rainfall dependence on agriculture and resort to nature-based solutions.

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