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Global warming could delay, weaken monsoons: study

Times of India , Sunday, March 01, 2009
CHICAGO: Global warming could delay the start of the summer monsoon by five to 15 days within the next century and significantly reduce rainfall in much of South Asia including India, a recent study has found.
Rising global temperatures will likely lead to an eastward shift in monsoon circulation which could result in more rainfall over the Indian Ocean, Myanmar and Bangladesh but less over Pakistan, India and Nepal, says the study.
It could also result in longer delays between rainy seasons and intensify the risk of deadly floods by leading to a significant increase in average rainfalls in some coastal areas of western India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
That could have a major impact on agriculture, human health and the economies of the region, warned study author Noah Diffenbaugh.
"Almost half of the world's population lives in areas affected by these monsoons, and even slight deviations from the normal monsoon pattern can have great impact," said Diffenbaugh, interim director of Purdue University's Climate Change Research Center.
"Agricultural production, water availability and hydroelectric power generation could be substantially affected by delayed monsoon onset and reduced surface runoff."
The atmospheric conditions that lead to reduced rain also can lead to intensification of extremely hot conditions, said lead author Moetasim Ashfaq, a graduate student at Purdue.