Scientists Warn of Dramatic Changes to Indian Monsoon in a Warming Climate

Storms will weaken and shift north by the end of the century

The annual Indian Monsoon that affects hundreds of millions of people in India will look dramatically different in the next century if the current pace of climate change continues, warn scientists at the NYU Abu Dhabi Center for Prototype Climate Modeling.

The research team has been studying the monsoon’s past behavior for more than three years in order to predict future activity. By analyzing a suite of high-resolution global climate model simulations, they determined that monsoonal storms will significantly weaken and shift northward over India. The simulations were conducted using sophisticated high performance computing methods at NYUAD.

Key Findings and Implications

  • overall monsoonal storm activity will decline by 45 percent by the late 21st century
  • as the monsoonal storm activity weakens it will also shift geographically north and inland
  • formation of monsoonal storms declined by 60 percent, accompanied by a 10 percent increase in storms over land areas
  • extreme rainfall pattern shifts toward northern India
  • monsoon rains affect nearly 600 million people living in agricultural areas in northern India
  • irregularities in seasonal rains can be highly disruptive to the local economy

The research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Link to paper: