Future Tense

Study projects a warmer and wetter future with an increase in heavy rainfall events in North-Eastern India

A study on the climate of North-Eastern India paints a grim picture. Titled ‘District-Level Changes in Climate: Historical Climate and Climate Change Projections for the North-Eastern States of India’, the study projects changes in temperature and rainfall patterns over the next three decades (2021–2050) compared to the historical period (1990–2019). The study also analyses two representative scenarios — moderate emissions (RCP 4.5) and high emissions (RCP 8.5) — in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

Climate change projections by CSTEP indicate an overall warming of both summer and winter minimum temperatures, an increase in the number of rainy days (>2.5 mm rainfall/day), and an increase in the number of heavy rainfall events across almost all the districts of the north-eastern states.

Summer maximum and the winter minimum temperatures are projected to increase by 1°C to 1.5°C under the moderate emissions scenario and 1°C to 2°C under the high emissions scenario. The number of rainy days is projected to increase in the 2030s in all the North-Eastern districts compared to the historical period. The increase is by 1 to 24 days under the RCP 4.5 scenario, with the maximum increase projected in Sikkim and a minimum increase projected in Assam. The increase is by 1 to 22 days under the RCP 8.5 scenario, with the maximum increase projected in Sikkim. Rainfall during kharif (June to September) and rabi (October to December) seasons is also projected to increase, affecting agricultural outputs. High-intensity rainfall (51–100 mm/day) events are also projected to go up by one to four events under the moderate emissions scenario and one to five events under the high emissions scenario.

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