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Extreme Rainfall Events Over Central India Tripled Since 1950: Study

Extreme rainfall
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A study by weather scientists has revealed that, extreme rainfall events have tripled since 1950 in central India and killed over 69,000 people across India while leaving 17 million homeless.

The paper, by scientists in India, US and France, has been published by Nature Communications journal in its October issue.

The states that witnessed the worst incidents of extreme rainfall events include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana as well as parts of the Western Ghats – Goa, north Karnataka and south Kerala.

Highlights of the Study:

There have been 268 reported flooding events in India over 1950-2015 affecting about 825 million people, leaving 17 million homeless and killing 69,000 people.

Extreme rainfall is defined as more than 15 cm of rain in a day and spread over a large region, enough to cause floods.

The study attributed global warming and its impact as a major reason for the erratic and extreme weather pattern over the region.

As the atmosphere and the oceans are getting warmer due to increasing carbon dioxide, a result of human activities, atmosphere holds more moisture.

This results in two factors. The first is that warm moist air is lighter than cold dry air and hence makes the atmosphere unstable as it rises up,” lead author Roxy Mathew Koll explained.

The second factor, Koll added, is that since the atmosphere holds more moisture, it dumps it all together – a heavy rainfall event.

The fact that this intensification is against the background of a declining monsoon rainfall, which has been observed in previous studies, makes it catastrophic, as it puts several millions of lives, property and agriculture at risk, experts say.

According to the paper, floods alone lead to losses amounting to $3 billion in India, 10 per cent of global economic losses.

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