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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cherrapunjee : Is it still the wettest place ?

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CHERAPUNJEE is a town of north-eastern state of Meghalaya of India. It is located at a distance of 56 Kms from Shillong and it is reputed to be the wettest place in the world because of the unique meteorological phenomena of the Indian Summer Monsoon. The South-west Monsoon and the North- east winds used to cause heavy monsoon rains over the mountains of Cherrapunjee. But now the environmental conditions of the area have not remained the same as they used to be. Now the scientists observe that the weather pattern of Cherapunjee is being badly hit by the changing global climate.

According to meteorologists, the climate of the town is changing fast. It is getting a lot hotter and now the monsoon is arriving later in Cherrapunjee. In 1974, it rained 24,555 mm in Cherapunjee which is the highest recorded rainfall in any one place in any one year. The annual rainfall for 2007 was back to normal. During 2006, 98% of the area's rainfall was between the months of March and October. In 2008 rains did not arrive fairly until June. The reason for that could only be the global change in climate.

Now in Cherapunjee, crops are being destroyed and intensive soil erosion has set in. Water flows faster from Meghalaya into Bangladesh delta due to depletion of forest. Now a part of Meghalaya is at risk of desertification due to the combination of increasing urbanization and industrialization at one hand and deforestation and shortage of groundwater on the other.

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