(File Photo | EPS)
(File Photo | EPS)

Kerala set to witness extreme weather events in 2022

Extreme rainfall, heat wave conditions and below-normal cold in store for state, says expert; 2021 recorded the highest rainfall in the past 60 years

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The variations in weather, brought on by the effects of climate change, is set to continue in Kerala in the new year too. Extreme weather events like intense rain, heat waves and below-normal cold are in store for the state, according to a top scientist with the India Meteorological Department.

Though the state witnessed unprecedented flooding in several parts in 2018, the fact is that 2021 recorded the highest rainfall over the past 60 years and the sixth highest over the past 120 years. While 2018 saw a rainfall of 3,520.2mm, the just concluded year had the state netting a record 3,610.2mm.K Santhosh, director of the Meteorological Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, said the Arabian Sea generated six low-pressure systems, two depressions and two cyclones in 2021.

“The sea is getting warmer by the day due to climate change, and the number of systems generated is much higher than the average for the Arabian Sea. The water-holding capacity of the atmosphere will increase because of the rise in sea temperature. As a result, extreme weather events like intense summer, extreme rainfall events, and cold and heat wave conditions will be the norm every year,” he said.

Though the number of weather system formations over the Bay of Bengal is slightly higher than the Arabian Sea, the state — because of its geographical peculiarities — will be at the receiving end when more weather systems form over Arabian Sea, he said.

Over the past year, Pathanamthitta received rain 80% above normal while Kottayam witnessed 60% excess rain. Five other districts also recorded excess rain — Thiruvananthapuram (54%), Kollam (45%), Ernakulam (32 %), Kozhikode (23%) and Alappuzha (22%). The rest of the state witnessed normal rainfall. The data shows when half the state witnessed normal rainfall, extreme rainfalls in seven districts pushed the state towards record figures. That also underscores the fact that various pockets may witness flash floods and associated calamities in future as there is a drastic change in the spatial distribution of rain.

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