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Maharashtra - Climate

Maharashtra Maharashtra has typical monsoon climate, with hot, rainy and cold weather seasons. Tropical conditions prevail all over the state, and even the hill stations are not that cold. Dew, frost, hail can also be happened sometimes according to the seasonal weather.

Summer runs from March, April and May are the hottest months. During April and May thunderstorms are common all over the state. Temperature varies between 22C-39C during this season. The Rainy season sees tainfall that starts normally in the first week of June. July is the wettest month in Maharashtra, while August too gets substantial rain. Monsoon starts its retreat with the coming of September from the state. Winter is a cool dry spell, with clear skies gentle breeze and pleasant weather prevails from November to February. But the eastern part of Maharashtra sometimes receives some rainfall. Temperature varies between 12C-34C during this season.

Since intensity of rainfall plays a crucial role in the occurrence of floods particularly flash floods, monthly extreme rainfall for few regions in Maharashtra have been analyzed and it reveals significant increase in the extreme rainfall (Jamir et al. 2008). Mumbai also witnessed massive floods in July, 2005 where over 900 people perished and over Rs 450 crores of damage of property was reported. The State has also experienced many cyclones in the past and more recently in November 2009 the cyclone Phyan inflicted damages related to strong winds, the unseasonal heavy rainfall and tidal surge.

About a quarter of Indias drought-prone districts are in Maharashtra, with 73% of its geographic area classified as semiarid. The drought-affected districts of Maharashtra are mainly Ahmednagar, Solapur, Nashik, Pune, Sangli, Satara, Aurangabad, Beed, Osmanabad, Dhule, Jalgaon, and Buldhana which account for 60% of the net sown area and lie in the rain shadow region east of the Sahayadri mountain ranges in Maharashtra and the adjacent Marathwada region. Maharashtra experienced severe and successive years of drought in 1970-1974 and 2000-2004.

More than 30% of the area of the State falls under rain-shadow region where scanty and erratic rains occur and about 84% of the total area under agriculture is directly dependent on the monsoon. The proportion of irrigated area in the State is only around 16%, as opposed to the national average of 38%.

As agriculture in Maharashtra is largely rain-fed thus, conservation of water becomes mandatory to ensure good crop productivity. About 60% of the total geographical area of the State is under agriculture (net sown area) and a large population is directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. In 2012, many parts of the State faced drought conditions which not only affected the crop productivity but also had an impact on the livelihoods of the people. The State received only 73.6 per cent of the normal rainfall during monsoon 2018. Out of 355 talukas (excluding talukas in Mumbai City & Mumbai suburban districts) in the State, 192 received deficient, 138 received normal and 25 received excess rainfall.

A wide variation in the distribution of rainfall is seen across the State, with the coastal belt, the Konkan region, receiving more than 2,000 millimeters annually, and the second highest rainfall being recorded in the Vidarbha region. Rainfall in Maharashtra increases steadily towards the east and average rainfall in the easternmost districts is about 1,400 millimeters. The rain shadow and Marathwada regions are the drought-prone areas of the State, with an annual average rainfall of less than 600 millimeters. These regions are generally characterized by extreme aridity, hot climate, and acute deficiency in water availability. More recently, areas in Vidarbha, which usually have reliable rainfall, have experienced variable and reduced.

A warming trend has been established over Maharashtra for both maximum and minimum temperatures over the past 100 years. Although uniform maximum temperatures between 34C to 40C are seen over large parts of India, steep temperature gradient during pre-monsoon season is found over the west coast including parts of Maharashtra. The seasonal temperature variation is considerably modified by the southwest monsoon. The spatial changes in minimum temperatures are observed to be decreasing in most parts of Western Ghats. Pre-monsoon maximum temperatures have increased significantly over the west coast.

In 2008, the Government of India released the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), and in August 2009, directed the States to develop State Action Plans on Climate Change guided by and consistent with the structure and strategies of the NAPCC. The Government of Maharashtra took a pioneering step towards formulating the Maharashtra State Adaptation Action Plan on Climate Change (MSAAPCC) by commissioning a comprehensive vulnerability assessment study which included the task of generating model-based climate projections specific to the States geography. The Government of Maharashtra appointed The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in 2010 to carry out this study, titled Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Strategies for Maharashtra, which broadly aimed to address the urgent need to integrate climate change concerns into the States overall development strategy, thus assisting in building long term climate resilience and enabling adaptation to the likelihood of risks arising from climate change. The study outputs have been used to formulate the Maharashtra State Adaptation Action Plan on Climate Change (MSAAPCC).

The climate modelling results show that temperature and rainfall are projected to increase all over the state though there are regional variations. Over time, the projected rise in mean temperature is greater for the 2070s compared to the 2050s and the 2030s (Figure 1a). Amravati and Aurangabad divisions may experience a greater rise in annual mean temperature than other parts of the state. The projected increase in monsoon rainfall by the 2030s and 2050s is relatively more for Amravati and Nashik divisions, though divisions like Konkan and Nagpur receive, and are projected to continue to receive, more rainfall in absolute terms. This overall increase in monsoon rainfall for the state is consistent with the findings of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The heat index is computed by combining projections for air temperature and relative humidity to indicate human comfort levels. An increase is projected for Konkan and Nashik divisions by the 2030s relative to the baseline for these areas. This may increase human discomfort due to heat stress and also increase the number of days that are conducive to malaria parasite development and transmission. It may also increase the energy demand for cooling in urban areas that are already experiencing the urban heat island effect.

A warmer atmosphere has a higher capacity to hold water. This is likely to produce more intense rainfall events with longer dry or low rainfall spells between these events. Extreme rainfall is projected to increase in all regions with greater increases in the northern parts of the state (Aurangabad and northern regions of Nashik division). Parts of south central Maharashtra are projected to experience more dry days in the 2030s relative to the baseline for this region. This is a matter of concern for agriculture and water resources in this region.

Sea level rise analysis was done for the Maharashtra coastline. Historical analysis of 100-year tide gauge data7 and 17-year satellite data showed a sea level rise of 0.13-2 cm. In the future, global mean sea level is projected to increase by 30 cm to 55 cm by the end of the 21st century for a medium range climate change scenario.

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Page last modified: 24-04-2020 18:58:15 ZULU