Climate science at a glance
- Climate change loads storms with more rainfall, increasing the threat of flooding.
- Increasing extreme precipitation is a global trend firmly attributed to climate change.
- Extreme events driven by natural variability and amplified by climate change are consistent with what climate science projects in a warming world.
- An October 2017 study finds a threefold increase in widespread extreme rain events over central India during 1950–2015
Extreme monsoon rains bring deadly and destructive floods to South Asia, consistent with a warming climate
The worst monsoon rains in South Asia occurred during August (around the same time Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston).
By August 17, more than one-third of Nepal's 75 districts had reported flooding or mudslides from heavy rainfall, decimating crops across the country.
On India's west coast, Mumbai received rainfall up to 322 mm (12.7 inches) in 24 hours, causing widespread flooding. This was Mumbai's second-worst extreme rainfall event on record, second to 2005, when 944 mm (37.2 in) of rain fell in 24 hours.
Recent research has indicated the intensity of extreme rainfall events in the region is increasing, according to Pradeep Mujumdar, chairman, Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
Looking at the total rainfall over the entire monsoon season from June to September, an October 2017 study finds rainfall extremes have increased threefold over the last three years and now extend over all of central India, from Gujarat to Odisha (see image to the right).
A separate study focused on southern India—outside the range of the 2017 extreme monsoon rains—showed that precipitation events greater than 100 mm have increased in number in the past 100 years. The study found an overall increasing trend of events exceeding 100, 150 and 200 mm since the 1900s.