When it rains….

The New York Times recently ran a brief but telling article on India’s monsoon season, writing explicitly about the connection between extreme weather and global warming, which they have not always done:

The frequency and intensity of rainstorms during India’s monsoon season has risen significantly since 1950, in concert with global warming, scientists report. An Indian climate research team describes the trend in the journal Science and predicts that further warming is likely to raise the risk of floods. The pattern was found by analyzing rain-gauge measurements. Over all, the total rainfall in June-to-September monsoons across central India had not appreciably changed, but more rain came in sudden bursts and less in light showers, the scientists said. “A substantial increase in hazards related to heavy rain is expected over central India in the future,” they added.

This is just one more piece of scientific evidence that global warming is affecting the world now. And that means even more extreme weather in the future if we keep increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

For the scientifically inclined, here is the abstract from Science:


Against a backdrop of rising global surface temperature, the stability of the Indian monsoon rainfall over the past century has been a puzzle. By using a daily rainfall data set, we show (i) significant rising trends in the frequency and the magnitude of extreme rain events and (ii) a significant decreasing trend in the frequency of moderate events over central India during the monsoon seasons from 1951 to 2000. The seasonal mean rainfall does not show a significant trend, because the contribution from increasing heavy events is offset by decreasing moderate events. A substantial increase in hazards related to heavy rain is expected over central India in the future.

The old adage, “When it rains, it pours,” is becoming all-too-true in a warmed world.