Climate Decade in Review - Post 31: Mumbai Receives Record Rainfall

July 26, 2005 - Mumbai received 37 inches of rain in 24 hours (and parts of the city even more).

This is difficult to imagine. Most places don't receive 37 inches of rain in a year. The term "26 July" is now commonly used in Mumbai, and is universally understood to refer to this event and the standstill it brought to the city. More than 1000 people died. This was the 8th heaviest rainfall event ever recorded. The IWRS Newsletter had this description:

"Never before perhaps had the metropolis experienced anything like it. Suburban trains normally running at intervals of 3 minutes, came to a grinding halt and 150,000 commuters including schoolchildren got instantly stranded at railway stations. Buses were unable to ply and the roads were bursting to capacity with stagnant northbound traffic. Land lines, mobile phone services and power supply went dead in many areas. Highways connecting the city got blocked and the airport had to be closed. The island city was really marooned."

Weather analyses of the event did not implicate global warming as a factor, and it is generally difficult to attribute any particular weather event directly to global warming. However, the incidence of extreme weather events like this has been growing over the last couple of decades, because warmer global temperatures tend to increase the likelihood of extreme weather. Events of greater rainfall are particularly more likely due to the ability of the atmosphere to hold more water vapor at higher temperatures.
This is one in the series of "Decade in Review" posts on this blog that began in January 2010. These posts present climate-change-related events that occurred during the 00's, the warmest decade in recorded history.

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