Weather & Climate | VOL. 15, ISSUE 93, November-December 2015

Wettest Place in the World: Mawsynram

Records—sports, music, cooking or even rainfall always generates curiosity. But, there is this thing about records—it is almost always broken by a new one. Thus, Cherrapunji’s record as the wettest place in the world has been overturned with Mawsynram figuring as the ‘latest’ wettest place on earth. Locally known as ‘Sohra’, Cherrapunji is located in the East Khasi Hill district of Meghalaya in northeast India. Weather observations ranging from as far back as 1902, when climatic record keeping began in the region, placed Cherrapunji on top where rainfall was concerned. Climatic records such as the wettest place are based on ‘climatic normals’ in relation to a given reference period. The first climatological normals published by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for 1901-1940 showed Cherrapunji as the wettest place in India with an annual rainfall of 10800.8 mm. Measurement of rainfall at Mawsynram, which is 16 km away from Cherrapunji started from June 1940. In a study by V Thapliyal and S M Kulshrestha using 26 years of available rainfall data from 1941-78, the average annual rainfall of Mawsynram at 11873 mm, was found to be higher than Cherrapunji’s 11763 mm for the same period. The Guinness book of World Records refers to the above value while declaring Mawsynram as the Wettest Place on Earth. The World Meteorological Organization’s extreme record site also shows Mawsynram as...

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