'Monsoon Getting Warped by Land-Use Change, Pollution and China's Growth'

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), April 27, 2015 | Go to article overview

'Monsoon Getting Warped by Land-Use Change, Pollution and China's Growth'


New Delhi, April 27 -- The Indian monsoon -long known for its steady and gentle falls - is succumbing to "human-induced" changes to become more abrupt, according to a new multinational study led by a climate scientist from the state-run Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune.

Two studies, steered by monsoon investigator R Krishnan of the IITM and his international partners, have presented the first evidence of how pollution and change in patterns of land use are impacting India's main rainbearing system.

As opposed to historically softer and evenly spread rains, the monsoon now features more localised, extreme and sharper falls, with abrupt "start-stop" cycles and "significant rise" in monsoon breaks or long pauses during a season.

Some of these impacts may have been brought on by sweeping economic progress in neighbouring China, with its copious aerosol emissions in the past 50 years, evidence suggests. "We found that the monsoon is now more characterised by intense precipitation at the expense of moderate events," Krishnan told HT.

His team concluded that pollutants such as black carbon and aerosols as well as deforestation have weakened the monsoon. "China's development could be affecting the monsoon. Its aerosol use is now well recognised," said Krishnan.

Even more worrisome are findings that the monsoon has been declining in the Western Ghats, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh by 6-7%.

Krishnan and his team also stumbled upon a vicious cycle. …

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