Heavy rainfall activity in Kerala has shown an increasing trend in the past decade, the union government said on Thursday, July 28. The Ministry of Earth Sciences also said that based on the data available between 2001 and 2021, it is clear that heavy rainfall events are showing an increasing trend in the state. The data was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Jitendra Singh. He was responding to questions by Rajya Sabha MP Jose K Mani.
The MP had asked three questions: if the government noticed an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters in the state of Kerala over the last five years; if there are any plans to increase the number of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Kerala to 256 weather stations as recommended by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in order to improve disaster preparedness in the state and their details; and about the steps taken to expedite the AWS installation that have already been sanctioned by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
In the answer tabled by Dr Jitendra Singh, he said that there was an increase in the occurrence of heavy rainfall activity in Kerala during southwest monsoon season (that is between June to September) as per the data for the period 2001-2021. ‚ÄúThe number of events of heavy rainfall (more than 64.4 mm and less than 115.5 mm), very heavy rainfall (more than 115.5 mm and less than 204.4 mm), extremely heavy rainfall (more than 204.4 mm), and ‚Äėheavy rainfall and above‚Äô taken together during southwest monsoon season during recent years are given and it is clear that heavy rainfall events are showing an increasing trend over Kerala,‚ÄĚ he said.
According to the data provided as part of the reply, 2007 and 2018 witnessed the maximum amount of rainfall under the ‚Äėheavy rainfall and above‚Äô category. However, it has been on a decreasing trend from 2018.
Further, the minister also stated that the IMD has plans to increase the network of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Kerala, and Kerala is to have 115 weather stations, as per BIS-1994 standards. ‚ÄúIMD planned for 100 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Kerala. The details of recently installed 77 AWS are given and the installation of remaining 23 AWS is in progress. In addition to this, Kerala has 15 AWS stations additionally, thus making a total number of 92 Automatic Weather Stations available for Kerala. Apart from these, there are 10 upgraded Automatic Rainfall Measuring stations also in the state,‚ÄĚ he said in the reply, and added that IMD has already expedited the installation of sanctioned Automatic Weather Stations for Kerala.