Climate change caused August floods, Cyclone Ockhi in Kerala: IMD

Climate change caused August floods, Cyclone Ockhi in Kerala: IMD
The August floods had caused widespread damage in the state

New Delhi: Climate change brought the devastating floods in Kerala in August, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has assessed. Extremely heavy rain and the massive filling up of dams led to the flooding, the IMD stated, asserting that it was indeed an impact of climate change.

IMD director general Dr K J Ramesh explained that a deficit as well as excess of normal rainfall are the results of climate change, which can also bring a severe drought.

“Days of severe drought were 80 per cent in 1901-10,” he said. “But the figure was 82.2 per cent during 2001-10. While an increase was marked in days that recorded 10 to 15 cm rain, there was a fall in days with below-5 cm rain. Since 2000, a huge increase has been witnessed in days of very heavy rainfall.

"The normal rainfall in Kerala had been 1,676.3 millimetres. This year it reached 2,377.1 mm, an excess of 42 per cent. Rainfall recorded between August 1 and 20 was 156 per cent in excess of the normal.”

Cyclone Ockhi was also a result of climate change, Dr Ramesh said. “The cyclone emerged from severe depression, a result of the variation in temperature at sea. This is a direct consequence of climate change.”

He pointed out that the depression transformed into a cyclone within 13 hours. “The governments would have limitations in taking necessary measures within that time.”

Professor SK Desh, the head of the Centre for Weather Studies at the Delhi IIT, said marine life is affected by the rise in surface temperature in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. “The Central Ministry of Earth Sciences has readied a system to monitor temperatures at sea, with the idea of gathering advance information on situations like Ockhi,” he said.

The heavy rain and flooding had claimed more than 200 lives in August in the second spell of the monsoon.

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