Cloud Burst

Uttrakhand Cloudburst Incidents 2018 

Uttrakhand is a disaster prone State. Earthquakes, Forest Fires, Flash Floods and Landslides keep occurring here round the year. The cloud burst events have also made entry to the disaster list. During past many years, local people have gradually become familiar with the term CLOUD BURST. The freak weather incident seems striking the state in increased number and frequency year after year.

Midway through the 2018 monsoon, there have already been about a dozen cloud burst events across the state. 

Continue reading “Uttrakhand Cloudburst Incidents 2018 “

Dams

India Rivers Studies 2017: Rivers Succumbing To Dams, Pollution & Climate Change

After reviewing status of India rivers, SANDRP presents an account of research, studies and important reports on erratic monsoon, climate change, floods which all are severely affecting the rivers, their aquatic life and livelihood of dependent communities.

Rivers and Monsoon

Number of rainy days falling across river basins in India The study has found that number of rainy days is falling across river basins in India and rainfall intensities are seen to be increasing. The analysis determined changes in heavy precipitation and peak flood for seven river basins in India—Krishna, Godavari, Mahanadi, Narmada, Cauvery, Sabarmati and Brahamani and Baitarani. For the study, data pertaining to daily flows for about 30 odd years and precipitation for 61 years (from 1951 to 2012) were analysed.

The analysis also said the rivers which flow from west to east direction (in India) have more rainy days compared to those which flow towards the west. The study also held that anthropogenic activities (construction of storage reservoirs, diversions, urbanization, land-use change, and soil and water conservation measures, among others) have probably affected the generation of peak floods in the rivers of India. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/c7v8oXmsMDHIldjDv9k6lK/Number-of-rainy-days-falling-across-river-basins-in-India-s.html (Live Mint, 27 April 2017)

Continue reading “India Rivers Studies 2017: Rivers Succumbing To Dams, Pollution & Climate Change”

Dams · Landslide

Why Jammu-Srinagar Highway Is So Landslide Prone?

Finally, after five days gridlock, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway (NH-1A) has been opened to traffic, on Feb 17, 2018, but only for one side. The all weather road was closed since February 12, 2018 following landslides at multiple locations along Bichleri (Bichiari) stream (a tributary of Chenab River) between Banihal and Ramban area. The highway was briefly re-opened for traffic on February 14 only to be closed again on February 15, due to recurring landslides.

We have narrated below some details of the landslides along Jammu Srinagar Highway in Feb 2018 as well as earlier since 2011. 

Continue reading “Why Jammu-Srinagar Highway Is So Landslide Prone?”

Indian Meteorological Department

River Wise Rainfall in Monsoon 2017

India’s most important season, the June-Sept South West Monsoon has just ended officially on Sept 30, 2017. India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that India received 841.3 mm rainfall in these four months of monsoon 2017, compared to normal rainfall of 887.5 mm. So Monsoon 2017 rainfall was 5.2% below normal.

The standard dominating reporting of monsoon rainfall figures in India is either state wise or sub division wise[i]. Accordingly, IMD reported that 25 sub divisions reported normal rainfall, 5 sub divisions[ii] reported excess rainfall and six sub divisions[iii] reported deficit rainfall, as can be seen from accompanying IMD sub division wise map of 2017 monsoon rainfall figures. Continue reading “River Wise Rainfall in Monsoon 2017”

Drought

Experimental Drought Monitor For India

Guest Blog by Prof Vimal Mishra (IIT Gandhinagar)

Introduction: Real-time drought monitoring and forecast in India is essential to support a large agricultural community. Prof. Vimal Mishra and his group (Water and Climate Lab) developed a real-time drought monitoring platform for India. The system provides conditions based on meteorological (rainfall based), hydrological (runoff based), and agricultural (soil moisture based) droughts and updates everyday. The products are based on real-time satellite rainfall, which was corrected using the long-term climatology from the India meteorological department (IMD). Runoff and root zone soil moisture are simulated using a well evaluated hydrologic model. All the drought products are extensively verified against other drought indicators such as satellite based drought severity index. Further information on monitor can be obtained in Shah and Mishra (2015). Continue reading “Experimental Drought Monitor For India”

Dams

Andhra Pradesh Drought 2016

On Oct 28, 2015, the Andhra Pradesh government declared 196 mandals in seven districts, as drought-affected during the Kharif season 2015. The districts were Srikakulam (10 mandals), Prakasam (21), Nellore (14), Chittoor (39), Kadapa (33), Anantapur (39) and Kurnool (40). Consequent to the declaration of drought, the government directed the concerned district Collectors to notify the specific drought-hit areas in the District Gazette to enable farmers to avail credit facilities. On Nov 22, 2015, the Govt. added 163 mandals to the list of drought hit bringing the number up to 359 mandals. This included mandals in Guntur, Krishna, Vizianagaram. Drought was declared in 10 out of 13 districts. Crop loan and relief measures were to be taken up in these mandals as per guidelines. The state demanded central assistance of Rs 2,000 crore.

Continue reading “Andhra Pradesh Drought 2016”

Andhra Pradesh

Discrepancies in rainfall figures for Andhra Pradesh’s drought hit districts

On October 28, 2015, the government of Andhra Pradesh declared drought[1] in 196 mandals in seven of the thirteen districts of the state. Having seen the serious discrepancies (between IMD and state government) in the rainfall figures of districts in Maharashtra[2] and Madhya Pradesh[3] where the respective state governments declared drought earlier, we decided to check the same for these seven districts of AP too. The IMD figures[4] for the monsoon (June 1 to Sept 30) rainfall for these seven districts are given in terms of Normal Rainfall, Actual Rainfall and how much actual rainfall departure was there from Normal Rainfall. During 2015 monsoon, IMD figures  say that Coastal Andhra Pradesh (nine districts, three of which are declared drought affected now) received 642 mm rainfall, compared to normal rainfall of 581.1 mm, so a surplus of 10%. Rayalseema (comprising of four districts, all drought hit now) received 358.3 mm rainfall, 10% below the normal figure of 398.3 mm. In the previous year, both regions had 23% deficient rainfall, with actual rainfall of 448.7 mm in Coastal AP and 308.6 mm in Rayalseema. Continue reading “Discrepancies in rainfall figures for Andhra Pradesh’s drought hit districts”

Agriculture · Dams · Irrigation · Madhya Pradesh · Maharashtra · Marathwada

Pulse Farmers: Custodians of Fertility, Water and Climate-friendly Agriculture

Above: A rainfed Tur (Arhar/Pigeon Pea) field in Amravati in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra Photo: Parineeta Dandekar, October 2015

Pulse prices are raging in Indian markets, leading to outrage from urban customers. Newspapers are full of coverage, cartoons and puns on pulse prices. The fate of rural population facing successive droughts which has to buy pulses is better left to imagination. If some benefits of this price hike were to reach actual pulse farmers, it would have been some consolation. But for now, as Pulse farmer Ashok Pawar from Osmanabad tells me, the Tur (Arhar/Pigeon Pea) that is in the market is last year’s. It was sold to the middle men (Adatya in Marathi) and market committee at a low rate as the production was dismal due to late rains and drought followed by unseasonal rainfall. This happened in 2013 too. Tur from 2014 is now being sold at a record price, the farmer watches this helplessly. Continue reading “Pulse Farmers: Custodians of Fertility, Water and Climate-friendly Agriculture”

Maharashtra · Marathwada · Monsoon

State says 59.9% rainfall, IMD says 73%: Highlights and discrepancies of Maharashtra’s Monsoon 2015

30th September marks the end of June-September South West summer monsoon in India and Maharashtra. The 2015 summer monsoon has proved to be the worst monsoon in the last six years for India. Rainfall deficits are seen in all major food-producing regions like UP (47% deficit), Bihar (28% deficit), Punjab and Haryana (32% deficit). This is India’s second successive year of high rainfall deficit, and only the fourth time this has happened since 1901.

1

Monsoon retreats from the country and the states on various dates. Some welcome showers are falling and are further expected in Maharashtra in the coming weeks, but the summer monsoon figures are now set. According to meteorologist Akshay Deoras. “Rain counters are refreshed on 1st October and new count of post monsoon season or winter monsoon season will start now.”

First week of October calls for an analysis of the summer monsoon, its performance in June, July, August and September and the implications this holds for various sectors.

People of Maharashtra have heard about, seen and experienced the dismal monsoon of 2015. Marathwada fared the worst, and was number one deficit state in the country at 52% deficit for a long time. However, at the end of monsoon, deficit of Marathwada is 40%. This is more worrisome as it comes piggybacking the 42% rainfall deficit in Marathwada in 2014, with rainfall of just 398.8 mm.

But, in order to understand the situation better, if one tries to analyse rainfall figures from various reputed official sources, one is taken aback by the disparities. We looked at official Indian Meteorological Department[i] figures, official Maharashtra Agriculture Department[ii] (Rainfall Recording and Analysis) figures and numbers from the 49th Cabinet Committee Note of the Government of Maharashtra dated 30th September 2015 accessed by SANDRP[iii].

All are concerned with Monsoon rainfall from 1-6-2015 to 30-9-2015. All of these contain different figures!

Indian Meteorological Department: IMD generates its rainfall data for Maharashtra based on its approximately 878 rain gauging stations spread across the state[iv]. According to IMD, regions of Maharashtra fall in rainfall deficit this year of varying proportions. Konkan region shows deficit of 31% with 2914 mm rainfall, Madhya Maharashtra shows deficit of 33% with 488.1 mm rainfall, Vidarbha shows deficit of 11% with 848.2 mm rainfall, but the highest deficit is Marathwada at 40% with 412.4 mm rainfall.

3According to IMD, between 1st June to 30th September, Maharashtra has received 732.5 mm rainfall of its 1007.3 mm average normal rainfall, which is 73% of average rainfall (27% deficit).

5 Districts that have received 50% or less of the average rainfall include

Kolhapur (803.4mm, -54%)

Solapur (231.8 mm, -51%)

Beed (287.4 mm, -50%)

Latur (372 mm, -51%) and

Parbhani (344.9 mm, -54%)

2
From http://hydro.imd.gov.in/hydrometweb/ . Thanks to Akshay Deoras for indicating this

The region-wise, month-wise rainfall in Maharashtra this monsoon, as per IMD figures was as per following table.

Rainfall, mm Konkan-Goa Vidarbha Madhya Maharashtra Marathawada
June Normal 663 161 140 138
Actual 781 254 177 119
July Normal 1147 318.9 247.8 192.5
Actual 581.5 137.8 111.7 26.8
Aug Normal 759.6 305.7 289.1 188.2
Actual 388.7 288.9 56 112.2
Sept Normal 344.7 169 152.4 164.2
Actual 253.8 167.5 143.4 154
Monsoon Normal 2914.3 954.6 729.3 682.9
Actual 2005.0 848.2 488.1 412.4

Where is Madhya Maharashtra? Incidentally, IMD classifies the country in various categories.  Maharashtra includes Konkan, Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha. Madhya Maharashtra includes Nashik and Pune Divisions of whopping 10 districts, from Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nashik, Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, Solapur, Sangli and Kolhapur. This region is not uniform in any sense, neither rainfall-wise, nor geographically nor is it “Madhya (Central) Maharashtra”. Any assessment based on a Madhya Maharashtra is meaningless in a sense as it clubs Kolhapur, at the southern tip of Maharashtra whose normal rainfall is more than 1500 mm with Dhule at the northern end of the state whose normal rainfall is about 500 mm and includes areas of Tapi, Narmada, Krishna and Godavari basins. It is time IMD adds some rationale to its meteorological divisions in India.

Maharashtra Agriculture Department: Agriculture Department of GoM runs a very useful website:  maharain.gov.in which displays detailed data from its Rainfall Recording and Analysis Department. It states: “The department of Agriculture, Maharashtra State initiated the project for recording daily rainfall in the state in year 1998. Initially rainfall data was recorded at tehsil level and subsequently same functionality was extended to circle level from 2013 as GoM has installed rain gauge at every circle. Circle officer sends daily rain data using mobile through SMS. In addition to SMS rain data can be entered directly on the web portal.”

Prima facie it appears that Agriculture Department may have a better spread in the over 40,000 villages in Maharashtra than IMD’s 878 rain gauging stations.7According to Agriculture Department, of the 353 administrative blocks in the state (taluks):

  • 65 bocks have received rainfall less than 50% rainfall (18.4% blocks). Most of these are concentrated in Solapur and Marathwada region.
  • 174 blocks have received rainfall between 50-75% rainfall.
  • Just 23 blocks have received 100% or above of normal, and these are concentrated in Vidarbha and Nandurbar, Northern Maharashtra.6

Cabinet Note of Government of Maharashtra, 49th Meeting, 30th Sept 2015: It reports that state has received 678.5 mm rain of the avergae 1131 mm, that is 59.9% or 60% of the average. But as we saw above, IMD says its 732.5mm of average 1007.3 mm, 73% of the average. There is no explanation for such widely different figures in the cabinet note.

Agricultural experts like Nishinkant Bhalerao states that the 60% magic figure will make any drought aid difficult and that it masks the monthly disparities which very badly affected this season’s Kharif. For example, Marathwada received barely 14% of its July average rainfall, a mere 28 mm, but cumulatively mainly due to late Spetmeber rains, this anamoly is hidden.

According to the note:

  • 13 districts of Dhule, Nandurbar, Pune, Aurangabad, Buldana, Akola, Washim, Amravati, Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli received between 76-100% average rainfall,
  • 17 districts of Thane, Palghar, Raigad Ratnagiri, Sindhudurga, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Satara, Sangli, Jalna, Beed, Latur, Osmanabad, Nanded, Hingoli, Yavatmal, Chandrapur eceived between 51-75% average rainfall and
  • In 4 districts, rainfall has been less than 50%, these include Nashik, Solapur, Kolhapur and Parbhani.
  • Strangely, IMD states Nashik received 729 mm rainfall till 30th Sept and has just 20% rainfall deficit but for the same period, Agriculture Department shows Nashik has received just 484.8 mm rainfall, and shows a rainfall deficit of about 52%! The difference between the two values is whopping 244.2 mm, more than entire seasonal rainfall of Solapur!!
  • IMD note also includes Beed (just about here at -50%) and Latur (-51%) in less than 50% rain, these are not included in the cabinet note.
  • Agriculture Department statistics includes Osmanabad in less 50% rainfall bracket, but it is not included in Cabinet Note

Cabinet note talks about 355 blocks, while Agri Dept considers 353 blocks and Government of India[v] considers 351 blocks in Maharashtra!

Sr. No Cabinet Note, 30th September 2015 Agricultural Department Government of Maharashtra, 1st October 2015
Blocks with less than 25% rainfall 1 1
Blocks with 26-50% rainfall 49 64
Blocks with 51-75% rainfall 171 174
76-100% Rainfall 105 91
100% or more 29 23

While discrepancies in these sources is not the subject matter of this discussion, there is definitely a need to streamline and improve monsoon rainfall reporting. This is especially important at a time when policies, drought assistance, insurance payment to farmers and water allocation decisions are heavily dependent on rainfall figures. If we cannot get our rainfall figures right, it raises a lot of questions about our capacity to monitor and understand the most important weather event of the year, on which lives of over 50% of the population directly depend! There is a vast difference not only in observed rainfall, but also supposed normal rainfall figures, which skew up the percentages.

Below: Notable differences between IMD and State Govt Data

District IMD (mm) State Agriculture (mm) Difference in Actual Rainfall (mm)
  Normal Actual Rainfall % of Normal Normal Actual Rainfall % of Normal  
Dhule 523.5 533.5 101.9% 530.5 448.2 84.5% 85.0
Nashik 912.2 729.0 80% 1013 484.8 47.9% 244.2
Satara 723.8 455.7 63% 834.2 539.5 64.7% 83.3
Solapur 474.2 231.8 49% 488.8 193.9 39.7% 37.9
Kolhapur 1737.6 803.4 46% 1772.4 634.8 35.8% 168.6
Yavatmal 855 663.3 78% 911.4 479.1 52.6% 184.2
Nagpur 923.9 970 105% 988.5 938.2 94.9% 31.8
  • Solapur gets less than 1972 rainfall: According to Agriculture Dept, Solapur has received low rainfall of barely 193.9 mm from June-Sept. This is on top of 25% rainfall deficit in 2014 monsoon. In the epic drought of 1972 also, Solapur received more than this at 224.9 mm rainfall.[vi] This year, Solapur has received less than half of the rainfall Rajasthan received! This also seems to be the lowest monsoon rainfall Solapur received since 1901!
  • For two consecutive years, Parbhani has received less than 50% rainfall (326.9 mm this year). In fact it’s June –July August Rainfall this year is lowest in the century.
  • The district which has shown the highest deficit is Kolhapur. As per Agriculture Department data, it has received just 634.8 mm rainfall, 35.8% of its normal average monsoon rainfall. Strangely, IMD shows 803.4 mm rainfall this monsoon for Kolhapur, which is 46% of normal. The difference of 168.6 mm is too huge to be ignored and needs to be explained.

Reservoir Storages:

  • Reservoirs storages at Maharashtra state level are at 56% of live storage capacity right now. But this is again masking the regional disparities. Marathwada has just 15% storage and 9 months ahead before the next monsoon. Four of its reservoirs are at 0 Live Storage (Mazalgaon, Manjara, Nimn Terna, Nimn Dudhna). The biggest Dam Jayakwadi is at a mere 7% storage.
  • Nashik division upstream of Marathwada also has relatively low storage at 59%.
  • Pune is slightly better at 61%.
  • Nagpur, Amravati and Konkan divisions are above 70%.

Some Contingency Planning steps:

  • Even in this situation, westward diversion of water from drought-hit Bhima-Krishna basin to high rainfall Konkan region and down to sea by Koyna and Tata dams continues, with no attempt to stop this completely wasteful diversion in this dry season.
  • No information is available in public domain about district-wise planning of available water resources till the commencement of next monsoon
  • No strong decision has been taken by the government about restricting or regulating sugarcane crushing which will commence from 15th October and which will consume lakhs of liters of water in the most severely drought-affected parts of the state.
  • No strong decision on limiting new area under sugarcane in Solapur and Marathwada regions, which will be planted after this harvesting and crushing season.

While IMD states that Maharashtra has received more than 70% average rainfall and State Government pegs it at around 60%, the reality is that water situation in Maharashtra especially Western Maharashtra, Nashik region and Marathwada is dismal. Erratic rainfall with long dry spell in July and August has affected Kharip crops, groundwater levels and surface water storages. There is a need to immediately work on a participatory contingency planning of the available water resources for the coming year.

This planning cannot happen in a closed door manner by the cabinet or group of ministers, but should include and respond to water users and farmers and should be built on the principles of equity and sustainability. MWRRA also needs to get into its act. The people of the state are waiting for such an initiatives from the government and MWRRA.

– Parineeta Dandekar, with inputs from Himanshu Thakkar

END NOTES:

[i] http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/Monsoon_frame.htm

[ii] http://maharain.gov.in

[iii] Shared by Shri. Nishikant Bhalerao, Editor of Adhunik Kisan

[iv] http://www.imdpune.gov.in/research/ndc/rainfall/DRF_STN.htm

[v] http://indiawater.gov.in/IMISReports/NRDWPDistrictMain.aspx?IState=018&StName=MAHARASHTRA

[vi] http://www.indiawaterportal.org/met_data/

Climate Change · Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand Rainfall: Since 1901 and in light of the 2013 disaster

During the tragic Uttarakhand disaster, one of the most discussed but the most elusive topics has been rainfall. Uttarakhand, though having experienced frequent extreme weather events, has a poor distribution of rain gauge stations and weather monitoring. The worst hit districts like Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Pithoragarh have especially dismal distribution of monitoring stations, making it impossible for us to understand the intensity of rainfall in places like Kedarnath when the disaster struck. (https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/uttarakhand-deluge-how-human-actions-and-neglect-converted-a-natural-phenomenon-into-a-massive-disaster/)

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) June 2013 rainfall was over thrice the normal amount between June 1 and 21. The highest figure quoted by IMD was 370 mm a day at Dehradun, which was said to be ‘a record not seen for five decades’. IMD has also said that in the week of 13th to 19th June, the entire state of Uttarakhand received 847% excess rainfall, and that this has no precedent.[1] However, according to experts, this generalisation of a very diverse state does not depict the true picture.

Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to string together whatever data we have on Uttarakhand’s rainfall in order to get a clearer picture of rainfall trends, and also underline the fact that Uttarakhand and all the other Himalayan States need a much denser network on weather monitoring stations, representation all altitudes, river basins & sub-basins and climatic zones. Only then will the data be a useful tool in planning and forecasting.

In this piece, we have tried to analyse rainfall datasets of the hundred years (1901-2000) for some of the worst affected and vulnerable districts of Uttarakhand. This data has been obtained from Indian Meteorological Department. Districts analysed include Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Haridwar, Chamoli, Tehri Garhwal, and Pithoragarh.

While we have rainfall data from 1901-2000 (with some gaps), there is a gap in the data during 2000-2008. Then again we have data from 2008-2012 and 2013 till 25th September 2013. (All figures from IMD – India Meteorological Department – http://imd.gov.in/).

What we have attempted here is:

1.     Identification of Top 5 Maximum and Minimum rainfall events in the selected 7 districts in the past 100 years. Comparison of these values with 2013 Maximum monthly rainfall

Interesting to note that the only time when 2013 monthly (approximate, as we have weekly figures from IMD, not monthly ones) features in top 5 monthly rainfall is for Chamoli, in July 2013! 537.9 mm rainfall it received in July 2013 was the second highest recorded rainfall in the district since 1901-2000 and 2008-2013.

2.   100 year monthly monsoonal and annual rainfall for selected 7 districts, 2008-2012 monsoonal and annual rainfall for selected 7 districts.

3. 2013 weekly rainfall collated in respective months for June, July and August for the seven districts.

Results:

1.             Dehradun: 

  • Maximum monthly rainfall in last 100 years during monsoon months (Same for all districts below): 1271 mm in August 1943
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years during monsoon months: 20.4 mm in June 1965
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In August 2013 it received 676.7 mm rainfall which was maximum for the district in 2013 monsoon.

However, this did not figure amongst the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 565.4 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 1436%

Dehradun_Reshaped

Deharadun_100_Years

2. Uttarkashi:

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years: 800.8 mm in August 1963
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years: 36.8 mm in June 1987 
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 529.9 mm received in June was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 375.6 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week: 1356%

Uttarkashi_ReshapedUttarkashi_100_Years

3. Tehri Garhwal-

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years 1097 mm in September 1995
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years- 0 mm in September 1997
  • Comparison of 2013 max rainfall with the previous 5 maximum: In 2013, 453.4 mm rainfall received in June was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 327.7 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 390%Tehri Garhwal_ReshapedTehri Garhwal_100_Years

4. Haridwar-

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years: 848.2 mm in September 1924
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years: 0 mm in September 1971
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 426 mm rainfall received in August was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 298.8 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 1283%

Hardwar_Reshaped

Hardwar_100_Years

5. Rudraprayag

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years 914.6 mm in August 1925
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years 0 mm, in September 1971
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 664 mm rainfall received in June was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13:366.3 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 580%

Rudraprayag_ReshapedRudraprayag_100_Years

6. Pithoragarh-

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years 1057 mm in August 2000
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years 22 mm in June 1901
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 471.9 mm rainfall received in July was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 246.9 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 238%

 Pithoragarh_ReshapedPithoragarh_100_Years

7. Chamoli

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years860.7 mm in September 1924
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years– 0 mm in 1998
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 537.9 mm rainfall received in July was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

It was a second maximum recorded rainfall since 1901-2000 and 2008-2013.

  • Rainfall during the week 13-06-13 to 19-06-13: 316.9 mm
  • Departure from normal for the same week – 1302%

Chamoli_Reshaped

Chamoli_100_Years

8. For Uttarakhand state-

  • Maximum rainfall in last 100 years685.6 mm in August 1922
  • Minimum rainfall in last 100 years 28.1 mm in September 1907
  • Maximum rainfall of 2013 compared with the 5 previous maximums: In 2013, 510.4 mm rainfall received in June (June 1 to July 3) was the highest for the 2013 monsoon season.

However, this does not feature among the top 5 values for monsoon rainfall in the period considered.

 

Uttarakhand_ReshapedUttarakhand_100_years

In conclusion While presenting data for entire districts, we realise that there have been major variations in rainfall experienced within a district, for example, parts of Pithoragarh received extremely high rainfall during 15th-19th June, but the average rainfall for Pithoragarh District in June 2013 (Period between 06.06.13-03.07.13) is only 418.4 mm. The week between 13 June 2013-19th June 2013 shows only 238% departure from normal rainfall, when the higher reaches of Pithoragarh received some of the heaviest rainfall in Uttarakhand in June 2013.

As per researcher Emmanuel Theophilus, from Himal Prakriti at Munsiyari, Pithoragarh, the rainfall data with IMD for the entire Pithoragarh Districts  is  only from 2 stations in  the mid altitude areas, where it hardly rained much. Hence, the discrepancy, of Pithoragarh having only a 238% departure from normal, whereas the NASA maps show one of the darkest blue spots in Pithoragarh as well. In addition, he says: “IMD has only a very few stations scattered sparsely over the state, and what they have, are located in central district and sub-division office locations. Sure this makes for easy gathering of data, but is of little use for understanding any particularities, even at the sub-basin scale. In just the Gori sub-basin (Pithoragarh) for example, rainfall can vary from 15 cm annually, (spread over ~28 rainy days a year, and not counting snow) in the higher alpine Trans-Himalaya reaches, to as much as 4 meters, yes meters, of rain annually (spread over ~152 rainy days a year, and again not counting snow) just 50 km downstream, in the Greater Himalaya. Therefore, statements such as ‘the entire state of Uttarakhand received 847% excess rainfall’, can be misleading.”

After the Uttarakhand Disaster of unprecedented proportions, let us hope that now IMD, Uttarakhand Government, heavily funded programs like National Climate Mission, Universities, research institutes[2], etc can come together to create reliable and representative weather monitoring stations in the vulnerable state. Only through such data will a robust forecasting system be supported.

Damodar Pujari and Parineeta Dandekar

END NOTES:


[1] From Emmanuel Theophilus: A River Pulse. A discussion paper on the flood-events in June 2013, Mahakali basin, Uttrakahand. Himal Prakriti, Sept 2013

[2] Here it may be noted that some institutes have their own automatic and other rain-gauge stations, but data from such stations is not in public domain. For example, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (http://www.wihg.res.in/) is supposed to have at least two automatic weather stations at Chorabari lake upstream of the worst impacted Kedarnath, but the data from these stations was not put up in public domain promptly or even now. Such data can be of great use for disaster forecasting, management and other purposes, but cannot be put to use without the data being in public domain.