, Volume 104, Issue 1-2, pp 193-207
Date: 15 Sep 2010

Impacts of irrigation on dry season precipitation in India

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There is a lack of observed data-based studies examining the role of enhanced soil moisture conditions (due to irrigation) on the prevailing precipitation. Therefore, in the present study, we have examined the impacts of the Green Revolution (GR) related expansion of irrigation and changes in dry season (the rabi (November to May) and the zaid (March to June)) precipitation in India. The results for some regions indicated decreasing and increasing trend in precipitation during the pre- and post-GR periods, respectively. For example, in eastern Madhya Pradesh, the pre- and post-GR precipitation trends for the zaid season were −0.45 and 2.40 mm year−1, respectively. On the other hand, some regions reported lower rate of decline in precipitation during the post-GR period. This paper suggests that both positive and lower declining trend during the post-GR period were linked to increased precipitation due to the introduction of irrigation. The study has found up to 69 mm (121%) increase in total amount of precipitation for growing seasons during the post-GR period. Moreover, a 175% increase in average precipitation was also recorded. All irrigated regions show a notable increase in precipitation during post-GR growing seasons. It was found that differences in growing season average precipitation between the pre- and post-GR periods were statistically significant for most of the regions. For further verification of results, the MM5 and Noah land surface model were applied. These applications show changes in precipitation and various precipitation controlling factors due to changes in soil moisture.