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Climate change fuelling monsoon mayhem in India, say experts as record rainfall takes heavy toll


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NEW DELHI: The coastal states of Maharashtra and Goa along with the Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have witnessed a spate of extreme weather events this monsoon with hundreds of people losing their lives owing to deadly floods, cloud bursts and landslides.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated since July 22, with record-breaking rainfall reported along parts of the western coast. According to the Relief and Rehabilitation Department in Maharashtra, about 229,074 people have been evacuated from the flood-hit areas and a total of 164 deaths have been reported till July 26. A total of 1028 villages have been affected, out of which Raigad district is worst affected, followed by Ratnagiri and Satara districts.

Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh reported a landslide on July 25, killing nine and leaving several injured. Uttarakhand has been reporting a series of landslides ever since the beginning of the month.

Experts say that it's high time we accept that the impact of climate change is now visible on our daily lives. With global warming intensifying, the Indian monsoon season has become erratic. Scientists have already warned that monsoon rains would increase further with the rise in global temperatures.

“We're not even halfway through the season and we have already achieved the seasonal rainfall target. Climate change is the reality of the moment. Weather sensitivities are on the rise, be it the intensity or frequency of cloud burst, landslides, heavy rainfall, cyclones or other phenomena. The monsoon has become erratic and we are witnessing a sea change in the monsoon season pattern which was once considered to be the most stable,” said G P Sharma, President, Meteorology and Climate Change, Skymet Weather.

According to a recent study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, climate change is making Indian monsoon seasons more chaotic and for every degree Celsius of warming, monsoon rainfalls will likely increase by about 5 per cent.

“We are experiencing these extreme weather events not only in India but in parts of Europe and China as well. We have been seeing horrific images of devastation in China and Germany, which show that climate change is here and now. It is no longer a developing country’s problem alone, but is now hitting the industrialized nations such as Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. IPCC scientists have been warning about these issues for the past couple of years,” said Dr Anjal Prakash, Research Director and Adjunct Associate Professor, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business and lead author in the 6th Assessment report of IPCC.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)