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Monsoon might fail more often due to climate change

11/06/2012 - India might face more frequent monsoon failure in the future, according to a study by Jacob Schewe and Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The paper published in Environmental Research Letters shows that severe failure of Indian summer monsoon rainfall is projected to become more frequent over the next 200 years under a climate change scenario.
Monsoon might fail more often due to climate change

Changing monsoon patterns potentially affect the livelihoods of a large share of the world's population. Foto: Thinkstock

“Monsoon rainfall is vital for thousands and thousands of farmers in India and thus for feeding the people in the world’s second-most populous country,” lead author Schewe says. “So possible changes of precipitation patterns can have important implications for long-term adaptation planning of the Indian economy.”

In an analysis based on a computer simulation, the researchers found that increasing temperatures and changes in the strength of the Pacific Walker circulation in spring could cause more frequent failure of the monsoon rainfall towards the end of the 21st and into the 22nd century. They assumed a temperature rise of approximately 4.5°C above preindustrial levels until 2200.

While average monsoon rainfall has been relatively stable during the past century, rising trends have been observed in the number of extreme rain events. “From a risk assessment perspective, our modeling results combined with observation data suggest that Indian monsoon changes are something we urgently need to investigate further,” second author Levermann says. “We need additional studies to confirm whether the monsoon changes found in our study are robust across a number of different climate models.”

Article: A statistically predictive model for future monsoon failure in India. Jacob Schewe and Anders Levermann 2012. Environ. Res. Lett. 7 044023 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044023

Weblink to the article: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044023/article

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