Meghalaya set to lose title of wettest place on earth, experts warn

Monsoon scientist sounds alarm bells: N-E region receiving lesser rainfall

New Delhi
: Meghalaya – the Abode of Clouds and its ‘pride of place’ Cherrapunjee – the Wettest Place on Earth, might soon lose their prized tags since the Monsoon pattern across the country has been slowly but surely changing with the North East region now receiving lesser rainfall while other parts of the country getting more downpour over the years.
Analysis of the rainfall data of the past 100 years show that the North East region is getting lesser rainfall. This disturbing information was disclosed in the recently concluded Indian Science Congress held at Mumbai by the renowned Monsoon Scientist Prof. Rajesh Agnihotri, senior scientist at the Radio and Atmospheric Science Division, National Physics Laboratory, New Delhi.
On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir, Konkan and Goa, the Gangetic belt in West Bengal, Madhya Maharashtra, Rayalseema, Coastal Andhra, North-Interior Karnataka, Western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are experiencing wetter monsoons. Cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Goa will see significant increase in rain too, the analysis said.
Besides decline in seasonal rainfall there is also shrinkage of pre-monsoon (March and May) and summer monsoon rainfall and this particular trend has been noticed since 1990s, Prof. Agnihotri said, adding that Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Kerala are also receiving less rainfall like the North East.
The effects of changing monsoonal patterns across India could require intervention on the part of the government to either prevent destruction on the lines of the Uttarakhand floods or to secure local irrigation needs, according to a presentation made by Prof. Agnihotri at the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai.
The change in monsoon pattern also resulted in unprecedented devastations in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir in recent times. Both the tourist places were inundated by unusual heavy rains and massive landslides that claimed hundreds of lives including that of tourists.
Prof Agnihotri went a step further and warned the government to curb tourism in the Himalayas in the months of May and June.
“Northeast Himalayas, including Himachal Pradesh, parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand are regions where the early monsoon months will be problematic. So I would urge the government to control the tourist activity at that time,” he explained, adding that extreme weather conditions could be expected to be on the rise during this period.
“The situation is worsening there. Both regions need linking of rivers or massive artificial lakes,” Prof. Agnihotri suggested.
Recent revelations have confirmed that 2014 has been the warmest year with the least overall rainfall.