India is heading for a drought, according to the article, for the fourth time in the past 11 years. The previous droughts during such period were in 2002, 2004 and 2009.
The Hindu – a weekly newspaper based in India – reports, though a string of droughts is not unprecedented, the question is whether human-induced factors driving climate change are involved and whether they could affect rain in the coming years.
There has been a downward trend in all-India monsoon rainfall since the late-1990s, Murtugudde said, but it is also important to bear in mind that the monsoon has cycles of high and low rainfall, and “it could be that we are in the middle of a low-rainfall cycle.”
“My worry is whether climate change is modulating and extending this long-term cycle [of low rainfall],” he told The Hindu.
Murtugudde also noted the steady and rapid warming of the Indian Ocean over at least the last 50 years. By reducing the land-ocean contrast, such warming could affect the monsoon.
“We’ve to figure out what that means for the monsoon,” he said.