WATCH: From floods in China, Germany to heavy downpour in Maharashtra, what’s the common link — a climate scientist explains

In an interview with Gaon Connection, Roxy Mathew Koll, scientist with IITM Pune, explained the reasons behind the unprecedented heavy rainfall in Maharashtra as well as the floods in China and Germany. Climate change is an usual suspect, but how does it lead to the changing of rainfall patterns?

Gaon Connection
| Updated: July 24th, 2021

Amidst Maharashtra witnessing unprecedented rainfall resulting in floods and landslides, China reeling under heaviest precipitation in a thousand years, and life being thrown out gear in Germany due to floods and waterlogging, a climate scientist talked to Gaon Connection to explain the underlying reasons behind these extreme weather phenomena.

In the Gaon Cafe programme, Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist from the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology was interviewed by Nidhi Jamwal, Deputy Managing Editor, Gaon Connection.

“Such extremely heavy rainfall has not even been seen in Maharashtra by our grandparents. These rains broke all time records for the last five days and it’s ongoing. This is something unprecedented,” Koll said in his opening remarks about the floods in Maharashtra.

Also Read: Maharashtra Rains – Mahabaleshwar records 600mm rainfall in 24 hours, breaks all-time record for rainfall

When asked about the explanation behind such intensely heavy rainfall in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, the scientist stated a couple of reasons are to be blamed for the destructive weather event.

“There are two factors behind this — one is the local meteorological conditions the second is the climate change which is aggravating these conditions. The meteorological or the atmospheric factor is responsible because the there is this development of a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal and the westerly winds from the Arabian Sea is strengthening,” he said.

Also Read: Maharashtra rains: Landslides, floods claim 76 lives, almost 90,000 rescued as ‘unprecedented’ downpour continues

“The winds bring in a lost of moisture from the sea but and now because of the climate change, there is a general increase in the temperature around the world. The oceans are warmer, the Arabian Sea is warmer, and its giving out a great amount of energy in the form of heat and moisture which this time got dumped in this region (Maharashtra) resulting in heavy rains,” Koll explained.

‘Snooze button pressed several times, it’s a late-wake up call now’

Additionally, talking about similar extreme events in Germany and China, Koll highlighted that one thing that we can be confirmed about is that these developments are a direct result of the climate change.

“There is a property of the air that as its temperature increases, it can carry more moisture. So it is seen that it doesn’t rain for a long time, but when it rains, it happens in bouts. Huge amount of moisture condenses and falls as rain all of a sudden,” he explained.

“What it tells us is that it’s a wake up call, actually a late-wake up call after pressing the snooze button several times because we have already seen such weather events increasing. Extreme rainfall events have increased. There were projections that this is going to happen,” the climate scientist added.