Indian Monsoon May Fail More Frequently, More Severely as Climate Changes

Artist in doing nothing/CC BY 2.0

We've had all sorts of predictions about the possible effects of climate change on the monsoon in South Asia, some of which are pretty severe. Now, some new research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research takes a longer view, examining the effects of climate change on the monsoon one hundred years from now and even later.

The research, published in Environmental Research Letters, shows that over the next two centuries the summer monsoon could cause "frequent and severe failures" of the annual rainfall system that is crucial for agriculture and indeed all of life in much of South Asia.

What's monsoon failure? It's not that it won't rain at all, but rather for the sake of this study failure was defined as a 40-70% reduction in rainfall below normal history levels, taken from the observational record going back to 1870.

Why? The researchers say that changes in the Pacific Walker circulation in the spring could more frequently suppress the monsoon as it develops—something which now can happen when El Niño conditions occur.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | India | Weather