A threefold rise in widespread extreme rain events over central India

Socioeconomic challenges continue to mount for half a billion residents of central India because of a decline in the total rainfall and a concurrent rise in the magnitude and frequency of extreme rainfall events. Alongside a weakening monsoon circulation, the locally available moisture and the frequency of moisture-laden depressions from the Bay of Bengal have also declined. Here we show that despite these negative trends, there is a threefold increase in widespread extreme rain events over central India during 1950–2015. The rise in these events is due to an increasing variability of the low-level monsoon westerlies over the Arabian Sea, driving surges of moisture supply, leading to extreme rainfall episodes across the entire central subcontinent.

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