April was the hottest month of the year in undivided Anantapur district, a study on rainfall, temperature and their impact on cropping months (the time that elapsed between sowing and harvesting) done over a period of 22 years, ending 2020, has revealed.
The maximum temperature during the perceived ‘peak summer month’ of May has been decreasing, while it showed a significant increase during August and November, the study revealed and flagged the increase in temperature in August and long dry spell as the worries.
During the period of study, the highest maximum temperature of 41.5 degrees Celsius was recorded in April, while the lowest was 37.1 degrees Celsius. May recorded the highest maximum of 41.1 degrees Celsius and the minimum of 36.1 degrees Celsius.
Studies by the scientists at the Agriculture Research Station (ARS) at Rekulakunta, about 10 km from Anantapur city, revealed that the maximum temperature was significantly increasing during August and November.
B. Sahadeva Reddy, Principal Scientist of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, told The Hindu that the maximum temperature was showing a declining trend during May and September. However, it is not significant for the people to feel it.
“This points to a shift in cropping months, which is otherwise co-synchronous with south-west and north-east monsoons. The rest of the months showed an increasing trend, though non-significant. The minimum temperatures were showing increasing trends in July and August. However, there was a non-significant decreasing trend in the remaining months,” he points out, while quoting his study and the readings taken at the ARS, Rekulakunta.
Undivided Anantapur district has earned the dubious distinction of recording the second-lowest rainfall in the country after Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan. However, the total rainfall during the crop growth period—south-west and north-east monsoons—is showing a decreasing trend.
“Even as the trend was non-significant during this 22-year study period, it is indicative of a definitive shift in crop period. The total annual rainfall is also showing a similar trend as per the Mann-Kendall trend analysis. Based on the rainfall and temperatures, we conclude that some mandals in the undivided Anantapur are severely vulnerable to land degradation. It points towards onset of desertification. The mandals are Atmakur, Garladinne, Singanamala, Kudair, Anantapur, Pamidi, Guntakal, Narpala, Mudigubba, Nallamada, O.D Cheruvu, Gudibanda, and Amadagur,” says Mr. Sahadeva Reddy.