Monsoon Updates

Mawsynram: Wettest place on Earth sees a decreasing trend in rainfall


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mawsynram

Mains level : Not Much

A recent study that looked at the rainfall pattern in the past 119 years found a decreasing trend at Cherrapunji and nearby areas.

Try this PYQ:

Q.“Climate is extreme, rainfall is scanty and the people used to be nomadic herders.” The above statement best describes which of the following regions?

(a) African Savannah

(b) Central Asian Steppe

(c) North American Prairie

(d) Siberian Tundra


  • Mawsynram is a town in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state in northeastern India, 60.9 kilometres from Shillong.
  • Mawsynram receives the highest rainfall in India.
  • It is reportedly the wettest place on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of 11,872mm but that claim is disputed.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Mawsynram received 26,000 millimetres (1,000 in) of rainfall in 1985.

Why it rain highest in Mawsynram?

  • Because of the uneven relief of India due to the presence of a number of hill ranges, the monsoon is not able to shed its moisture evenly over India.
  • Windward sides receive more rainfall and leeward sides receive less rainfall.
  • Mawsynram lies in the funnel-shaped depression caused by the Khasi range in Meghalaya.
  • The Bay of Bengal branch of monsoons is trapped in it and causes heavy rainfall.

Decreasing rainfall trends

  • The research analysed daily rain gauge measurements during 1901–2019 and noted that the changes in the Indian Ocean temperature have a huge effect on the rainfall in the region.
  • There was a reduction in the vegetation area in northeast India in the past two decades, implying that human influence also plays an important role in the changing rainfall patterns.
  • The traditional way of cultivation known as Jhum cultivation or shifting cultivation is now decreased and being replaced by other methods.
  • Also, previous studies have noted there is sizable deforestation in the region.

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