HYDERABAD: The increased number of low pressure areas in Bay of Bengal moving in the westerly direction because of climate change impact is affecting the monsoon weather system in the state. The state received heavy rainfall of more than 60 per cent in many places in this year’s monsoon season.
The weather systems formed over the Bay of Bengal usually travelled in the north-westerly direction towards Odisha, Jharkhand and upto the North-East regions. Over the past five years, this trend was changing as low pressure areas are taking more of a westerly route and are more intense, leading to heavy downpour.
Vice president of Meteorology and Climate Change, Skymet Weather, Mahesh Palawat, told Deccan Chronicle, “Around 12 low pressure areas were developed this year over Bay of Bengal. Almost 9 of them moved in the Westerly direction and the latest 2-3 weather systems mostly travelled in the north-west direction. Because most of the low pressure areas moved in westerly direction, they had an impact over north coastal Andhra Pradesh, parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Telangana. Such changing weather systems have been a result of extreme climate change effects.” As all the low pressure areas travelled within the vicinity of the north Telangana, including 1-2 weather systems in the central parts of Telangana, these resulted in intense weather activities such as heavy downpour, especially over northern Telangana such as Adilabad, Komaram Bheem, Jayashankar, Jagtial and Kamareddy.
Another aspect was the increase in the cyclonic activity in the Arabian Sea because of the rising sea surface temperatures due to global warming. “Earlier, the number of cyclones developed in the Arabian Sea was lesser than Bay of Bengal with a ratio of 3:7, but now is almost at par for the past 4-5 years as the Arabian Sea is also heating up. Moreover, the intensity and frequency of weather systems (low pressure area) are more because the sea surface temperatures are warmer as a result of global warming and climate change.
In effect, extreme weather events are occurring, wherein the number of rainy days have shrunk with the intense rainfall over short periods, causing local flooding,” Palawat stated. As per the experts’ observations, such contrasting weather events will be more frequent and the geographical distribution of rainfall across the country will be contrasting. Research director and adjunct associate professor of Bharti Institute of Public Policy, ISB and author of IPCC, Anjal Prakash said, “Because of climate change, the monsoon patterns — and due to their effect the rainfall patterns — will change drastically in Telangana. Heat waves will be starker and monsoons will be wetter in the state in the years to come.”
Agriculture will be the first sector that will be impacted because of the changing monsoon patterns. Uneven and unpredictable distribution of rain will affect the farming operations, more so for the Kharif crop production of rice, which forms 50 per cent of the nation’s food production. “A large population in Telangana is still dependent on agriculture. Rice is the staple food of the people and the major production system. There will be a long-term impact on the food production because of the uneven rain distribution, more so on the paddy production. So we need to produce drought-resistant varieties of rice and incorporate the older systems of rice production which are more sustainable, considering the uncertain monsoon systems,” Prakash said. The way forward in combating climate change in the state, he added, would be conservation of city lakes, increasing the blue and green infrastructures and climate-proof policies.