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Monsoon Bliss: Drenched in Rain Kutch is a Must Visit (Environmental Feature)

The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green

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Kutch
Rann Utsav in Kutch. Pixabay

Bhuj, Sep 09, 2017: White, fluffy clouds hanging low over green hills, little pools of still water teeming with migratory birds and an omnipresent cool breeze — the semi-arid region of Kutch in Gujarat transforms into a completely different avatar during the monsoon.

And although winter — the time detailed as “ideal” to visit this region — shows you a side of hers that’s truly unique, Kutch makes for a pretty picture during the rains, perfect for a rejuvenating holiday.

Nestling on the country’s western border, close to the Arabian Sea, Kutch had recently been in the news for the cyclonic storm-induced thundershowers that lasted five days. Before that, and like the rest of the state, floods had also hit the region in July.

“Heavy showers are normal during the monsoon,” local taxi driver and long-time Bhuj resident Anwar Khatri said, indicating that the heavy rainfall was not out-of-the-ordinary. “But in the last three-four years, we have had very scanty rainfall. The monsoon brings out a different facet of Kutch, the brown transforms into green.”

Kutch occupies an important geographical location when it comes to birds, said ornithologist Jugal Kishor Tiwari, since it falls on their migration route. His organisation, Centre for Desert and Ocean (CEDO), works on wildlife conservation and promotes nature tourism.

And although the winter is a brilliant time to spot a host of migratory birds, one can indulge in some bird-watching during the monsoon as well. CEDO, which is based out of Moti Virani village, some 400 km from Gujarat capital Gandhinagar, organises tailor-made tours of such nature.

A visit to Kutch would however be incomplete without witnessing its rich treasure trove of handicrafts. Ajrakh (block printing), camel leather craft, Bandhni, different forms of weaving, bellmetal craft, Kutch embroidery — the list is endless — and nothing beats the wonder of watching an artisan work on his or her craft.

After the devastating earthquake in 2001, several NGOs took up the initiative of supporting artisans and their art, even reviving some, and helping them find suitable markets to showcase and sell their products beyond the state’s and the nation’s borders.

There are many such NGOs within a radius of 10-15 kilometres from Bhuj — the point you will either fly down to or reach by train — and one can visit their campuses to see some of these exquisite crafts take shape and understand the story behind them from the artisans themselves. Some names to look out for would be Shrujan, Khamir, and LLDC (Living and Learning Design Centre).

About eight kilometres from Bhuj is a village called Bhujodi, which has the Ashapura Crafts Park set up for artisans to display and sell their work. Again, one can meet weavers, tie-dye artists, block printers and others here. Needless to say, it will leave you wanting for more shopping bags to fill!

From the well-known to the lesser known — a monsoon visit to Kutch would also remain wanting without a trip to one of its pristine beaches. Mandvi is the closest to Bhuj and there are many resorts close by with their own private beach enclosures. The high point of the beaches here — Pingleshwar, about 98 km from Bhuj, a hidden gem — is witnessing the marine life. Jelly fish and hermit crabs are a common sight and the multi-coloured sea weeds look extraordinary.

Also Read: History of Rigvedic river Saraswati

If the children are more in the mood for some fun and frolic, Mandvi has ample opportunity for water sports as well — which may be restricted when the weather is grey. But a ride on a camel would more than compensate for that!

With the temperature hovering on the pleasant side of the scale and a constant breeze, one can also opt for some historical sight-seeing. The Aina Mahal, with its blue tiles, Venetian-style chandeliers and walls studded with mirrors, is a must-visit. Next door is the 19th century Prag Mahal, a brilliant example of Italian-Gothic architecture.

As you travel around the place and move on the fringes of the main town of Bhuj, it is difficult to miss the vast expanses of agricultural land with acres after acres of pomegranate plantations, palm groves and cotton fields — all this thanks to drip-irrigation, which has brought about a sea-change in the region’s crop pattern. With the green hills in the backdrop, it’s a sight to behold. Soak it in, for, with the changing season, Kutch will soon reveal a different face. (IANS)

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IIT-Mandi Predicts Indian Monsoon Rainfall Density for 2100

IIT-Mandi predict a weakening of monsoon by 2100

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monsoon in india
100 years of data of the Indian monsoon rainfall reveals that downfall of monsoon is near. Pixabay

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology-Mandi (IIT-Mandi) have developed an algorithm to process 100 years of data of the Indian monsoon rainfall and have predicted a weakening strength of the phenomenon by 2100.

The algorithm will also factor in information about global climate phenomena such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and can access periodicity of switching between strong and weak monsoon years.

The research was undertaken by Sarita Azad, Assistant Professor, School of Basic Sciences, along with her research scholars Pravat Jena, Sourabh Garg and Nikhil Ragha.

They studied the changes in the periodicity of monsoon rainfall and used the data to predict periodicity in future.

Their work has recently been published in the reputed American Geophysical Union peer-review international journal Earth and Space Science.

The Indian summer monsoon, the annual cycle of winds coupled with a strong cycle of rains, is undoubtedly India’s lifeline.

While the monsoon itself is a stable phenomenon, arriving almost like clockwork every year, the short-term fluctuations in annual rainfall are unpredictable and pose a great challenge.

Azad and her team developed algorithms that can accurately detect intense rainfall events, taking into consideration the triennial oscillation period and other factors such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

For this purpose, Jena has developed an algorithm to analyse the changes in periodicity of the monsoon. It predicts a decreasing intensity of rainfall in most parts of the country.

The team examined the spatial distribution of the triennial oscillations using rainfall data of 1,260 months between 1901 and 2005.

They analysed the power spectrum of the observed data and showed that the 2.85-year periodicity was present at 95 per cent confidence level over more than half of the 354 grids across India.

Indian monsoon downfall
Research reveals that changes in the periodicity of monsoon rainfall can result in the downfall of Indian monsoon by 2100. Pixabay

“We found that Indian summer monsoon rainfall has a periodicity of 2.85 years during which the monsoon tends to switch between strong and weak years. This 2.85 year period is called triennial oscillation,” Azad said.

In addition to the triennial oscillation, the quantum of rains that occurs during the monsoon is also connected to global climate phenomena such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation that recurs in a three to five-year period.

Understanding the relationship between triennial oscillation, its spatial distribution, and how it is likely to change in future is important for reliable monsoon prediction.

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Even after complex interactions both in temporal and spatial scales, monsoon showed a stable pattern till now. Pexel

Explaining the phenomenon, Jena said: “The monsoon involves complex interactions both in temporal and spatial scales. Despite complexity, the monsoon rainfall seems to show a well-defined pattern.”

The research team has projected the data into a collaborative framework-based simulation called the Coupled Model Inter Comparison Project to ascertain the future pattern of the 2.85-year period oscillation.

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The projections showed a weakening of this oscillation by the year 2100.

Azad added: “The triennial oscillation of the monsoon depends on global phenomena such as El Nino Southern Oscillation and the current triennial periodicity of 2.85 years may not hold good in future years, depending on the occurrence and periodicity of El Nino.”

Studies have shown that the periodicity of the El Nino Southern Oscillation itself is reducing, most likely linked to global warming, and this would have a direct impact on the strong-weak periodicity of the monsoon.

“A weakened triennial monsoon cycle will have a severe impact on agriculture and water resource management, particularly over the southwest coastal, northern, northeast, and central parts of India,” said Jena on the significance of their findings. (IANS)