Sulagna Chattopadhyay
Geography and You, New Delhi.

The monsoon is not unique to India. Countries close to India, that heavily rely on it like us are—Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, as also countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Interestingly, the monsoon phenomenon is experienced in distant North American countries too—known as the North America Monsoon, but the seasonal reversals of the wind are less pronounced. But, why then is monsoon so very important for our nation? Primarily because it is the only major source of freshwater for the sub-continent—which means that it is the lifeline of an economy that supports over 1.3 billlion humans. From agriculture to energy and from textile to construction, nothing is free from the need of freshwater. This makes the rainy season in India one of the chief determinants of its growth trajectory. Thus arises the need to know as much as we can about it—to predict with conviction the outlook for the season. The catch however is that the monsoon is getting more and more difficult to predict with anomalies on a rise. Higher atmospheric and sea surface temperatures are impacting the global climate systems. Paleontological records from the Meghalayan cave stalagmites show a decline in monsoon activity over the Indian subcontinent. Indian scientists are of the view that this decline is likely to continue for a couple of decades more, after which the monsoon is likely to recover. What that would mean for the Indian economy however is worrying. With central India and parts of the Western Ghat likely to become drier, we just may have a full scale disaster at hand. I would also like to let our readers know that the G’nY publication timelines have wavered and the delay is being addressed from our end.