Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Why the Thar Desert on the borders of India and Pakistan is getting greener?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Thar Desert, Desert National Park;

Mains level: NA

Why in the News?

Rajasthan’s barren Thar Desert may turn green, says a recent study in the journal Earth’s Future.

Thar Desert

  • The Thar Desert is the 18th largest subtropical desert globally and is one of the most densely populated deserts.
  • Approximately 40% of the human population in Rajasthan resides in the Thar Desert.
  • It extends from the Sutlej River and is bounded by the Rann of Kutch, the Aravalli Mountains, and the Indus River.
  • About 85% of the Thar Desert is located in India, with the remainder in Pakistan.
  • In India, it spans across Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab as well.
  • Civilizations are believed to have thrived in the Thar region around 50,000 years ago across the extinct Saraswati River.
  • The Desert National Park (home to the endangered Great Indian Bustard, desert fox, desert cat, blackbuck, and Indian gazelle) is situated in the Thar Desert in the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan.

Why is the Thar desert getting greener?

  • Climate Change Effects:
      • Alteration of Weather Patterns: Climate change is causing shifts in rainfall distribution in the thar desert area.
      • Potential for Vegetation Growth: The increased precipitation could provide favorable conditions for vegetation growth, contributing to the greening of the desert.
  • Indian Monsoon Dynamics:
      • Westward Extension of Indian Monsoon: The Indian monsoon, known for bringing heavy rainfall to eastern India, is now extending further westward into regions like the Thar Desert.
      • Impact on Moisture and Rainfall: This change in monsoon dynamics could lead to increased moisture and rainfall in the desert region, facilitating the growth of vegetation.
  • Expansion of Indian Ocean Warm Pool (IOWP):
      • Influence on Monsoon Patterns: The Indian Ocean Warm Pool (IOWP) influences monsoon patterns and rainfall distribution over the Indian subcontinent.
      • Westward Expansion due to Climate Change: Climate change is causing the IOWP to expand westward, potentially resulting in increased rainfall over semi-arid regions like the Thar Desert and promoting greening.
  • Water Management Practices:
      • Contribution to Greening: Effective water management practices, such as rainwater harvesting and irrigation techniques like johad, kuis, and kunds, may be playing a role in the greening of the Thar Desert.
      • Utilization of Water Resources: By harnessing and efficiently utilizing available water resources, local communities and authorities can support vegetation growth and ecosystem restoration efforts in the desert.
  • Introduction of Irrigation  
    • Commercial Cropping: Irrigation was introduced during British colonial rule in the 19th and 20th centuries to convert arid and semi-arid ecosystems into cropland.
    • Restrictions on Grazing: The right to graze animals was restricted to landowners who cultivated crops, leading to the transformation of nomadic pastoralists into sedentary agro-pastoralists.


[2018] Which of the following leaf modifications occur(s) in the desert areas to inhibit water loss?

  1. Hard and waxy leaves
  2. Tiny leaves
  3. Thorns instead of leaves

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

[2020] The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples.

[2013] Major hot deserts in northern hemisphere are located between 20-30 degree north and on the western side of the continents. Why?

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch