• It has been found in the recent study that looked at the rainfall pattern in the past 119 years found a decreasing trend at Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) and nearby areas.
  • The village of Mawsynram in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya has beaten Cherrapunji to become the wettest place in the world.
  • Mawsynram receives over 10,000 millimetres of rain in a year. It is located around 81 km by road from Cherrapunji however the straight line distance between the two is 15.2 km.
  • The annual mean rainfall for the period 1973–2019 showed decreasing trends of about 0.42 mm per decade.
  • It was statistically significant along seven stations like Agartala, Cherrapunji, Guwahati, Kailashahar, Pasighat, Shillong and Silchar.
  • The phenomenon is driven by changes in the Indian Ocean temperature and conversion of forestlands and vegetation cover to croplands in the last two decades.
  • These long-term rainfall changes in the region are responsible for the observed shift of the world’s wettest place from Cherrapunji to Mawsynram (separated by 15-km) in recent decades.
  • Mawsynram receives an average annual rainfall of 11,871 mm while Cherrapunji braces for torrential rains every year with an annual average at 11,430 mm.
  • Largest rainfall areas are also showing changes in rainfall and that is important for water management.
  • Since North East India is mostly hilly and is an extension of the Indo-Gangetic Plains, the region is highly sensitive to changes in regional and global climate. Pre-monsoon and monsoon are the rainy seasons of North East India.

  • Around 80 percent of India’s annual rainfall comes from the Indian summer monsoon, spanning from June to September.
  • But deforestation over the past few decades has caused summer monsoon to weaken, resulting in a considerable decline in rainfall.
  • Large-scale conversion of forests to crop lands is disrupting India’s rainfall.
  • Reduction in the vegetation area in northeast India in the past two decades, implying that human influence also plays an important role in the changing rainfall patterns.
  • Jhum cultivation or shifting cultivation is now decreased and being replaced by other methods.
  • Hence a reliable estimate of the trend and/or multi-decadal variability of mean rainfall over the North East India and that of the extreme events are critical for delineating the impact of climate change over the region.
  • A better understanding of the physical mechanisms of the North East India’s rainfall variability is crucial for developing advanced projections of future rainfall variability.
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