For every degree Celsius of global warming, monsoon rainfalls will likely increase by 5%, according to one of the key points of the analysis.
While more rain might seem like a good thing, too much (or too little) can harm crops. India depends on this seasonal rainfall to help sustain the crops necessary to feed the second-most populated country in the world. However, the authors suggest climate change will negatively effect their agriculture if left unabated.
It’s not just an increase in monsoon rainfall this study suggests could be impactful — it is the variability.
This includes more prolonged dry spells where rainfall is needed most.
A more ‘chaotic’ and’ ‘erratic’ future lies ahead
Rice, for example, a major source of sustenance across the Indian subcontinent, is highly susceptible to changes in rainfall. Crops need the precipitation, especially during the initial growing period. But too little or too much at once can harm the plants.
“The problem with increased variability is, however, the reduced predictability, which makes it harder for farmers to deal with the monsoon,” Levermann, who is affiliated with the Potsdam Institute, tells CNN.
Agriculture policy expert Devinder Sharma told CNN that farming practices will need to adapt to this climate variability, but exactly how remains unknown.
“We don’t know how climate change will work out. It could be heavy rain at one point, followed by drought or cyclones. It won’t be uniform. This will create a lot of problems for the agriculture sector and as well as for the economy.”
History underlines humans influence on rainfall intensification
“Under unabated climate change, the CO2 effect is by far the strongest effect and will dominate the change in monsoon over all natural and other human-made effects,” says Levermann.