‘Abnormal’ monsoon makes 2022 one of the wettest years in the Nilgiris

The Nilgiris has recorded an unusually wet and intense southwest monsoon this year. Based on an analysis of the district’s rainfall data of 64 years, scientists of the Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (IISWC-ICAR) said the number of “rainy” days, as well as the intensity of rain, increased substantially in 2022. 

The analysis showed that between June and August this year, the amount of rainfall was almost 50% higher than a normal monsoon. “Between June and August, the average rainfall in the last 64 years has hovered over 740 millimetres. However, this year, 1,080 millimetres was recorded in the district during the same period,” said K. Kannan, Head of the Udhagamandalam station of IISWC-ICAR. The overall amount of rain from January to August also went up almost 55% this year.

Mr. Kannan said May, 2022 was one of the wettest months on record, with the rainfall almost 220% higher than the norm, while July recorded 70% higher rainfall than a normal monsoon. “The average rainfall during the whole of August is 137 millimetres. This year, rain in the first eight days of the month itself equalled that amount,” he added.

Mr. Kannan said that while there had been “abnormally wet” monsoons in the past, this year’s pattern was slightly different. “In the previous extremely wet years, the number of rainy days might have been fewer, but the intensity was higher. However, in 2022, both the number of rainy days and the intensity have been higher than the average,” he said, adding that climate change could be behind it.

“The unusual southwest monsoon could lead to water soaking into the soil, leading to more landslips during the northeast monsoon,” he cautioned.

S. Bharathidasan, secretary of conservation NGO, Arulagam, and a member of the Tamil Nadu Board for Wildlife, who has been working on conserving vultures at Sigur, said such rainfall could impact the critically endangered species like vultures. “Usually, August is a dry month preceding the mating and nesting season of the critically endangered species of vultures, which rely on hot-air currents to fly long distances in search of food. It remains to be seen how such rainfall will affect the breeding seasons of the birds,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 5:57:47 pm |