Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told Parliament that the extreme rainfall that took place over Tamil Nadu in November and December was a "highly localised" phenomenon that couldn't necessarily be attributed to global warming. In a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question, Javadekar said that the rains, which caused flooding across Tamil Nadu's eastern coast, killing more than 300 people and leaving Chennai paralysed was due to the variability of the monsoon system.

"Extreme rainfall that occurred over coastal districts of Tamil Nadu is highly localised and is part of the natural variability of the Indian monsoon system," Javadekar said in the written reply. "Although some studies have reported an increase in frequency and intensity of extremes in rainfall during the past 40-50 years, their attribution to global warming is not established."

That said, the minister acknowledged that the United Nation's Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change had indicated that extreme rainfall events are likely to be more frequent over the course of this century in India. He added that the flooding that followed the rain had as much to do with the local response to the disaster as it did with the weather itself.

"In this (Chennai floods) case, three days advance warnings were issued for placing emergency planning response action by the local authorities," he said. "As per some reports, the rains and the excess water released from the dam at Chembarambakkam resulted in the flooding of Adyar, its banks and inundated its floodplain."