The India Meteorological Department under-reported the intensity of rainfall in Kerala that led to one of the worst floods the state has faced although it had accurately predicted heavy rain, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday quoting a draft government report.
At least 483 people died in the state in rain-related incidents this monsoon. During the worst phase of the flooding in August, there were 14,50,707 people living in relief camps.
The report prepared by the Ministry of Earth Sciences is an evaluation of the accuracy of the weather department’s model in predicting the Kerala floods. A final draft of the report will be released by the end of October.
“The report documents the unprecedented rainfall as an impact of climate change,” said Secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan. “In fact, we are seeing these events across the country and they will have to be documented.”
The draft report indicates that the Met department’s model predicted the transition from normal monsoon rain to very heavy rainfall well but it could not predict the high volume of rain that some districts received.
“Weather transitions are being picked up very well by our model but it’s not picking up how high the rainfall can be during the transition phase,” Rajeevan said. “Even before the floods in Kerala this August, the model predicted that there is going to be a sharp rise in rainfall.”
The report said the immediate cause of the flooding was the formation of low-pressure weather systems over the Bay of Bengal and that the unprecedented rainfall could be linked to the impact of climate change.
Extremely heavy rain predicted over the next week
The draft report sounded a caution that such events may happen again in Kerala. “We are forecasting extremely heavy rain in Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu between October 5 and 10 due to a weather system over the south-east Arabian Sea,” Rajeevan said. “There will be more such events in future.”
“Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme temperature and rainfall events across the world,” SK Dash, a professor at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, told the Hindustan Times. “There is no doubt about it. This is based on both data and scientific models.”