India’s monsoon seasons are getting even more chaotic due to climate change – could ruin the economy and cause devastation on the subcontinent, warns new research.
Rice crops could be wiped out while people could lose their homes or even die in widespread flooding, according to the study.
Researchers fear if more rainfall occurs due to erratic and extreme weather, the economy and agriculture could be in severe danger.
In 2019, India’s monsoon season overran by almost a month with unprecedented rainfall causing deaths from collapsing buildings, homes being flooded, and rotted crops.
A team of German researchers have compared more than 30 state-of-the-art climate models from around the world and found India faces even more extremely wet years in the future.
Dr. Anja Katzenberger, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “We have found robust evidence for an exponential dependence: For every degree celsius of warming, monsoon rainfalls will likely increase by about five percent.
“Hereby we were also able to confirm previous studies but find that global warming is increasing monsoon rainfall in India even more than previously thought. It is dominating monsoon dynamics in the 21st century.”
Professor Julia Pongratz, of the University of Munich, added: “Crops need water especially in the initial growing period, but too much rainfall during other growing states can harm plants – including rice on which the majority of India’s population is depending for sustenance.
“This makes the Indian economy and food system highly sensitive to volatile monsoon patterns.”
Professor Anders Levermann, from Columbia University, said: “We see more and more that climate change is about unpredictable weather extremes and their serious consequences.
“Because what is really on the line is the socio-economic well-being of the Indian subcontinent.
“A more chaotic monsoon season poses a threat to the agriculture and economy in the region and should be a wakeup call for policy-makers to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.”
The findings were published in the journal Earth System Dynamics.