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Current Affairs

Declining rainfall in Punjab

Date: 16 October 2021 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

The state of Punjab has received low rainfall this season. The monsoon has already withdrawn from the state.

 

Background

The state has been witnessing lower rainfall trends since many years. The pattern of rainfall this year was better than previous years.

 

Details

  • The normal rainfall required for the state is 467.3 mm from June 1 to September 30. This year it was 436.8 mm, 7 percent below normal.

  • In the mid 80s the state used to receive well over 800 mm of rainfall. It however reduced to 650 mm couple of decades back.

  • Monsoon season satisfies about 79 percent of the state’s rainfall requirement. Less rain in monsoon will lead to less overall rainfall.

 

Rainfall trend

  • The rainfall has become deficient from past couple of decades but it has not been deficient. Anything below normal is termed as below normal rainfall.

  • Rainfall is categorized as ‘deficient’ whenever the rainfall is less than 20 per cent of the normal average.

  • In the last two decades, the number of years when the rainfall was below average has increased. This marks a huge shift in climate.

  • Between 1901 and 2017 (117 years) there were 35 years of deficient rainfall. Out of 35, 10 such years were recorded between 2000 and 2019.

 

Implications

Rains have a major role in state’s economy as well as ecology. Less rain means more water is sucked out of ground. This leads to drying up of aquifers.

 

Silver lining

  • The major silver lining this season was the rainfall pattern. The rains fell over a distributed time rather with a high intensity.

  • This allowed the water to seep slowly into the ground and recharge aquifers. If the intensity was high, it would have caused flash floods and waste of resource.

 

Factors causing changes

Factors such as global warming are playing a major role in changing the climatic pattern. Deforestation in the state is also causing the decreasing rainfall trend.