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aWhere Case Study: Extreme Variability in Kerala, India

Weather Insights

India continues to experience tremendous weather variability in 2019. Low rainfall in the central and southern states is resulting in hydrologic drought (insufficient surplus water to recharge aquifers) as well as agricultural drought – insufficient rain to avoid water stress that will reduce yields. Rainfall variability and intensity are increasing, and poor rains during the middle of the 2019 main (kharif) monsoon were bracketed by flood events – a consistent pattern across south central Kerala. Near complete failure of the 2019 main (kharif) monsoon must be very disconcerting to the people of Kerala.

Rainfall variability is increasing which impacts cropping systems, watershed management, and market pricing.
Farmers need daily access to accurate weather data and insights to manage.


The two maps below compare two month-long periods of precipitation differences from normal. On the bottom left (mid-July-Mid-August), much of the Western regions are wetter than normal, signaling decent rainfall. By mid-August these patterns start to change and much of the country is drier than normal. The total rainfall compared to the 2008-2018 average shows troubling spatial variability. Conditions were both much drier – and especially in the west – much wetter than normal.

Precipitation difference from normal
July 15, 2019 – August 14, 2019

Precipitation difference from normal
August 15, 2019 – September 14, 2019


India’s alternate drought and flooding over the past 3 months has caused emergency responses by the government. In August 2019, 738 relief camps were set up in Kerala to house victims of flooding. The weeks of dry during the expected peak of the monsoon set up the hydrologic situation where the tremendous rains of early August led to massive runoff not buffered by healthy vegetative cover. There is potential here to have at least anticipated the impact of excessive rainfall had hydrologic models been exercised with such a scenario.

aWhere’s weather data and models can help service providers, industry and farmers producers organizations in India adapt to weather variability by applying accurate observed weather to deliver economic resilience to climate change in agriculture, energy, health, trade (domestic and international) and watershed management.

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