Is climate change causing the monsoon to play truant?

Studies needed on Goa’s altering weather pattern and climate change link
Changing weather patterns have started showing in Goa.
Changing weather patterns have started showing in Goa.

The weather patterns for the first two weeks of June 2023 are definitely not normal. Not only has the high temperature been above normal on most days, but the monsoon has played truant, and Goa is facing a deficit.

Even as this is being written in mid-June, the sun is shining and there is no sign of rain, though it has been stated that the monsoon has set over Goa, albeit some five to six days after the normal date.

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For a better understanding of the temperatures and rainfall this season, one needs only look at the weather bulletin issued on June 14, which shows “appreciably above normal” temperature for the North Goa district, while it is “above normal” for the South Goa district with the high temperatures reading 34.4 degrees Celsius in Panjim, which was 3.7 degrees Celsius above the normal, and 33.6 degrees Celsius in Mormugao, which was 2.7 degrees Celsius above the normal.

Not only was the onset of the monsoon delayed, but Goa has also experienced sparse rainfall to date.

While temperatures shot above normal, the rainfall dipped quite a fair bit. Not only was the onset of the monsoon delayed, but Goa has also experienced sparse rainfall to date.

The weather bulletin for the same date showed that North Goa received 087.3 mm of rain, which is a deficit of 246.1 mm, while South Goa received 092.6mm, which is a deficit of 210.9 from the normal rainfall for that period.

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With the monsoon showing few signs of breaking over Goa in earnest, a question which hangs over us is whether this deficit will be reduced during the season ahead.

Changing weather patterns are showing in Goa. The state has had a few recent seasons of high rainfall. In 2020, the rainfall saw a high, with the rain being consistent through the four months of the season.

The state has had a few recent seasons of high rainfall. In 2020, the rainfall saw a high, with the rain being consistent through the four months of the season.

The year prior to that, in 2019, which saw 33 per cent above average rainfall, it was an uneven monsoon, with a late start and intermittent rains. We have a late start this year too. But can the monsoon make up for it?

We have already lost half a month of the four-month season, and the grey clouds that signify rains are not to be seen. The skies are quite clear and even the stars are visible in the night sky.

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It’s quite clear that the monsoon has not been following a consistent pattern over the past few years, and that there have been changes year on year.

Goa also has had appreciably hotter summers, and this year the temperatures in April and May were higher than the normal average almost throughout the two months, with humidity levels also high.

It is mid-June and there is still no sign of rain.
It is mid-June and there is still no sign of rain.

Just two years ago, in July 2021, Goa experienced the worst floods in four decades. Was any study undertaken at that time to identify the causes?

There are indications that Goa is already seeing the effects of climate change, though these would have to be established by study and research as currently these are mere conjecture. If the monsoon pattern and the rising temperatures of the rest of the year are taken into consideration for further studies, a linkage to climate change could very possibly be established.

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It is, therefore, important for the government to initiate these studies at the micro-level here in Goa so that mitigation measures that are required can then be introduced.

Every delay in studying these patterns and bringing in changes to halt climate change will only lead to larger issues, which will be tougher to solve, and the consequences of the changes harsh.

Every delay in studying these patterns and bringing in changes to halt climate change will only lead to larger issues

Already, this year, farmers have begun to feel the effects of the late monsoon. This is happening at a time when Goa is looking at taking to the fields again and promoting agriculture.

Since there are records of rainfall for the past many decades, a comparison of these with current trends would be helpful to establish a link between climate change and weather patterns.

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What we are seeing today can be considered a forewarning as to what is going to come, and we need to be prepared.

Climate change is not merely global warming in the sense that only temperatures will rise. But there will be other changes in weather patterns that come along with it.

Turning a blind eye to the matter will not help. Goa needs some action from the government now.

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