A study carried out by researchers at IIT Bombay has found that extreme rainfall events over India do not have significant association with land surface air temperature over India and sea surface temperature over central Indian Ocean.
The results are contrary to the general notion that global warming or increased summer temperature is responsible for extreme summer monsoon rainfall events witnessed in some parts of the country in the last few years. The results are applicable at both large and small scales — Indian subcontinent and at a grid level of 100×100 sq. km. Data for 50 years pre- and post-1975s were used for the study. The results are published on August 3 in the journal Scientific Reports.
In the recent past, there has been considerable change in heavy summer monsoon rainfall pattern in India and there is considerable debate on whether such extreme events are caused by global warming or by urbanisation.
At a local level, some of the grids of 100×100 sq. km. experienced a change in extreme rainfall with increasing temperature, while other grids witnessed a decrease or no significant change in rainfall with increased temperature. However, the model simulation of Indian rainfall extremes tends to “overestimate the changes in both mean and extreme precipitation”.
The study also found that dynamic moisture transport caused by thermal gradient between land and water had a significant role on mean and extreme rainfall compared with direct thermodynamic effect (where the atmosphere has a greater capacity to carry moisture when temperature rises).
A study carried out in Brazil revealed that there was a decrease in extreme rainfall with increasing temperature. In the latest study too, the researchers did not find evidence to support “intensification in either the mean or extreme rainfall over India in a warming world”.