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Extreme weather events in India bear climate change footprint

“Deforestation and rapid urbanisation coupled with the fragile nature of Western Ghats led to landslides and massive destruction. Warming of atmosphere increases the capacity of air to hold moisture, which leads to the formation of intense cumulonimbus clouds or vertically developed clouds, bringing some incessant downpour over the region.

“Besides, when the atmosphere is unstable, these clouds keep regenerating and this turns into a series of cloud development triggering incessant rainfall,” Vice President, Meteorology and Climate Change, Skymet Weather, Mahesh Palawat said.

In the Himalayas, deforestation and continued construction of hydropower plants, roads, hotels or homes have led to the loosening of soil, resulting in frequent landslides even with the slightest of rains.

“Weather becomes more sensitive in the hilly region, as mountains respond to weather more quickly. With the development of cumulonimbus clouds in the absence of strong upper air winds, they do not tend to travel very long, or we can say they are trapped. These clouds then deplete all the water over a certain area, which is called cloud burst,” Palawat explained.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth Assessment Report (AR) cycle concluded that human influence on the climate system is “clear”. Since AR5, there has also been an increased focus on regional impacts, with scientists improving their models and understanding of what global climate change impacts will look like on a regional scale.

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