SHIFTING RAINFALL PATTERN
The increase in post-monsoon rainfall in Karnataka has accentuated the growing concerns that the shifting monsoon patterns being witnessed in recent years is induced by climate change and, in turn, could have a bearing on agriculture and crop output.
- Between August 3 and 10, 2019, the State received 224 mm of rainfall and the departure from normal for the period was the highest for more than 120 years.
- Kodagu has been witnessing such a trend since the last few years and the local community have come to dread “August rains”, as it is termed colloquially.
- Rainfall during the south west monsoon – from June through September – saw a deficit. But post-monsoon rains made up for the shortfall.
- According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), Karnataka received 332 mm of rainfall against a normal of 173 mm from October 1 to November 30h this year and the cumulative rainfall for the period was the highest in five decades.
- Though the post-monsoon rains neutralised the shortfall for the period June through September and ensured that the reservoirs were full, they brought in heir wake crop damage and misery to farmers.
- A team of scientists at KSNDMC who analysed the rainfall pattern and data from 1960 to 2017, published their findings in “Climate Change Scenario in Karnataka: A Detailed Parametric Assessment.” The scientists say that there is a shift in rainfall pattern over Karnataka and the quantum, intensity and distribution varies across the regions.
- While the amount of annual rainfall and number of rainy days have increased in south interior Karnataka and Malnad regions, there is a reduction in the amount of rainfall in Kodagu, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada districts.
- The findings also indicate an increase in extreme weather events such as drought and flood. Across the State, there is an increase in annual rainfall in 39 taluks, pre-monsoon rains have increased in 28 taluks and north east monsoon rains have increased in 33 taluks.
- The study indicates that areas with steady rainfall experience extreme precipitation events and regions are experiencing longer spells of little or no rainfall between two heavy rainfall events.
- Between 2001 and 2019 the State has experienced drought of various severity for 15 years, according to the KSNDMC study.
- In 2016, 139 out of 176 taluks in the State were drought-affected in the Kharif season and 162 taluks in the Rabi season. In 2018, about 100 taluks were drought affected in Kharif and 156 taluks in Rabi season, underlining the severity of the impact on agriculture.
- The emerging evidence, according to the scientists, calls for measures to mitigate the impact of such extreme weather events on agriculture which otherwise, could have a bearing on food, nutritional and water security.