Telangana experienced at least five unusual climatic events within a span of a year, in 2023 — extreme rains in July and December, extreme rainfall deficit in October and multiple hailstorms in April. Key reason for this plethora of atypical occurrences: changing weather patterns, courtesy climate change.
“For instance, the humongous amount of rainfall in Venkatapur mandal of Mulugu district, within 24 hours, is absolutely in line with our understanding of how global warming is fuelling both the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events across the globe,” said Akshay Deoras, research scientist from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and department of meteorology, University of Reading.
This explanation is seconded by Mahesh Palawat, vice president, meteorology and climate change at Skymet weather. Explaining further he said how the intensity of a rainfall event usually increases as the weather system progresses from cyclonic circulation to low-pressure, well-marked low pressure, depression, deep depression and eventually to a cyclone.
“Now, owing to global warming, even a small weather phenomenon like cyclonic circulation and low pressure are capable of giving way to very heavy rains, which are usually associated with a depression or a cyclone,” said Palwat, referring to the July event which was only a well-marked low pressure.
Referring to what happened in the first week of December in Telangana, owing to the impact of cyclone Michaung, he said that too is a feature of increasing heat in air and sea surface temperatures — thanks to global warming. “Cyclones in December are common, but now while their frequency is reducing their intensity is increasing. As air and seas are getting hotter, the capacity of air to hold moisture is increasing, leading to development of intense vertical clouds capable of bringing heavy to very heavy rainfall within a short span,” Palwat added.
A senior official from IMD chipped in, “These extreme events will continue to occur with more and more variability because various meteorological parameters like winds, humidity, temperatures are constantly changing due to human activity.”
Can’t rule out natural variability
But experts maintain that many events like the summer of 2023 when several hailstorms rocked Telangana, including the Charminar getting covered under a sheet of ice, could also be due to natural variability of weather. “Summer 2023 was definitely unusual for the state as well as for most of India due to frequent western disturbance producing clouds or thunderstorms limiting the rise of temperatures. This however is part of the natural variability of western disturbances,” said Deoras.
The case of October turning out to be the driest month, is largely attributed to the climatic phenomenon — El-Nino. “To properly understand climate change and it’s impact we need to study the patterns for six to seven years before reaching any conclusion,” added Palwat.



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