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08 August 2016 K2_CATEGORY IAS Blog

The article explains the study conducted by IIT Bombay revealing that heavy rainfall is not associated with global warming as it is expected.

  • 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 100x100 sq. km. Data for 50 years pre- and post-1975s were used for the study.
  • 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”.
  • The claim is not really that climate change is not important. But the novel results indicate that the local warming is not the controlling factor.
  • The clues are in the rapid warming of the Indian Ocean and the changing roles of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean in monsoon variability and extremes. It is the nonlocal controls that are of great importance.
  • The new generation climate model and historical simulations tend to over-estimate the association between extreme rainfall events and temperature.
  • We must be careful while using climate change for estimating future changes in extreme rainfall with increasing temperature over India and Central Indian Ocean.


The changing patterns of extremes over the Indian subcontinent need a scientific re-evaluation. There is a need for further research to resolve the temperature dependence of rainfall. In the light of this statement, discuss the impact on global warming on rainfall and crop yield.

Suggested Approach:

  • Decreasing crop yield and increasing rainfall.
  • New studies found increasing temperature does not result in increasing rainfall.
  • Need for further study.


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