Disparity in rainfall trend and patterns among different regions: analysis of 158 years’ time series of rainfall dataset across India

  • Saurav Saha
  • Debasish Chakraborty
  • Ranjit Kumar Paul
  • Sandipan Samanta
  • S. B. Singh
Original Paper


Rainfall anomaly during crop-growing season can have large impact on the agricultural output of a country, especially like India, where two-thirds of the crop land is rain-fed. In such situation, decreased agricultural production not only challenges food security of the country but directly and immediately hits the livelihood of its farming community. In a vast country like India, rainfall or its anomalies hardly follow a specific pattern, rather it is having high variability in spatial domain. This study focused on the trends of national and regional rainfall anomalies (wetness/dryness) along with their interrelationship using time series data of past 158 years. The significant reducing wetness trend (p < 0.05) over north mountainous India was prominent with an increasing trend over southern peninsular India (p < 0.10). However, long-term annual wetness was increasing over entire peninsular India. The results of change point tests indicate that major abrupt changes occurred between early to mid-twentieth century having regional variations. The regional interrelationship was studied using principal component, hierarchical clustering, and pair-wise difference test, which clearly indicated a significantly different pattern in rainfall anomalies for north east India (p = 0.022), north central India (p = 0.022), and north mountainous India (p = 0.011) from that of the all India. Result of this study affirmed high spatial variability in rainfall anomaly and most importantly established the unalike pattern in trends of regional rainfall vis-à-vis national level, ushering towards paradigm shift in rainfall forecast from country scale to regional scale for pragmatic planning.


Funding information

This work is financially supported under the National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (Task force 6), Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.

Supplementary material

704_2017_2280_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (197 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 197 kb)


  1. Alexandersson HA (1986) A homogeneity test applied to precipitation data. Int J Climatol 6:661–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basak P, Sengupta PR (1998) Some studies of southwest monsoon rainfall. Proc Ind Nat Sci Aca Part A 64:737–746Google Scholar
  3. Bonaccorso B, Peres DJ, Castano A, Cancelliere A (2015) SPI-based probabilistic analysis of drought areal extent in Sicily. Water Resour Manag 29(2):459–470. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bordi I, Frigio S, Parenti P, Speranza A, Sutera A (2001) The analysis of the Standardized Precipitation Index in the Mediterranean area: large-scale patterns. Ann Geofis 44(5–6):25Google Scholar
  5. Bordi I, Fraedrich K, Jiang JM, Sutera A (2004) Spatio-temporal variability of dry and wet periods in eastern China. Theor Appl Climatol 79(1):81–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buishand TA (1982) Some methods for testing the homogeneity of rainfall records. J Hydrol 58(1–2):11–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burn DH, Elnur MAH (2002) Detecting hydrological trends and variability. J Hydrol 255:107–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chowdhury A, Abhyankar VP (1979) Does precipitation pattern foretell Gujrat climate becoming arid? Mausam 30:85–90Google Scholar
  9. Dash SK, Nair AA, Kulkarni MA, Mohanty UC (2011) Characteristic changes in the long and short spells of different rain intensities in India. Theor Appl Climatol 105(3–4):563–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Du J, Fang J, Xu W, Shi P (2013) Analysis of dry/wet conditions using the standardized precipitation index and its potential usefulness for drought/flood monitoring in Hunan Province, China. Stoch Env Res Risk A 27(2):377–387. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghosh S, Luniya V, Gupta A (2009) Trend analysis of Indian summer monsoon rainfall at different spatial scales. Atmos Sci Lett 10:285–290Google Scholar
  12. Ghosh S, Das D, Kao SC, Ganguly AR (2011) Lack of uniform trends but increasing spatial variability in observed Indian rainfall extremes. Nat Clim Chang 2:86–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goswami BN, Venugopal V, Sengupta D, Madhusoodanan MS, Xavier PK (2006) Increasing trend of extreme rain events over India in a warming environment. Science 314:1442–1445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goyal MK (2014) Statistical analysis of long term trends of rainfall during 1901–2002 at Assam, India. Water Resour Manag 28:1501–1515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gupta AK, Tyagi P, Sehgal VK (2011) Drought disaster challenges and mitigation in India: strategic appraisal. Curr Sci 100(12):1795–1806Google Scholar
  16. IPCC (2014) Summary for policymakers. In: Climate change, Mitigation of climate change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–31Google Scholar
  17. Jain SK, Kumar V (2012) Trend analysis of rainfall and temperature data for India. Curr Sci 102(1):37–49Google Scholar
  18. Jaiswal RK, Lohani AK, Tiwari HL (2015) Statistical analysis for change detection and trend assessment in climatological parameters. Environ Process 2(4):729–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jha S, Sehgal VK, Raghava R, Sinha M (2013) Trend of standardized precipitation index during Indian summer monsoon season in agroclimatic zones of India. Earth Syst Dyn Discuss 4(1):429–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Joshi MK, Pandey AC (2011) Trend and spectral analysis of rainfall over India during 1901–2000. J Geophys Res 116:D06104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kashid SS, Maity R (2012) Prediction of monthly rainfall on homogeneous monsoon regions of India based on large scale circulation patterns using Genetic Programming. J Hydrol 454:26–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaur S, Purohit MK (2016) Rainfall statistics of India—2015, Report No. ESSO/IMD/HS R.F. Report/04(2016)/22, India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  23. Klein Tank AM (2007) EUMETNET/ECSN optional programme: European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D) Algorithm Theoretical Basis Document (ATBD), version 4. Report EPJ029135Google Scholar
  24. Kripalani RH, Kumar P (2004) Northeast monsoon rainfall variability over south peninsular India vis-a-vis the Indian Ocean dipole mode. Int J Climatol 24:1267–1282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Krishnamurthy V, Shukla J (2000) Intraseasonal and interannual variability of rainfall over India. J Clim 13:4366–4377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kumar KR, Pant GB, Parthasarathy B, Sontakke NA (1992) Spatial and sub-seasonal patterns of the long-term trends of Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Int J Climatol 12(3):257–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kumar V, Jain SK, Singh Y (2010) Analysis of long-term rainfall trends in India. Hydrol Sci J 55(4):484–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kundzewicz ZW, Robson AJ (2004) Change detection in hydrological records—a review of the methodology. Hydrol Sci J 49(1):7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Machiwal D, Jha MK (2016) Evaluating persistence and identifying trends and abrupt changes in monthly and annual rainfalls of a semi-arid region in Western India. Theor Appl Climatol.
  30. Machiwal D, Kumar S, Dayal D, Mangalassery S (2017) Identifying abrupt changes and detecting gradual trends of annual rainfall in an Indian arid region under heightened rainfall rise regime. Int J Climatol 37:2719–2733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mall RK, Singh R, Gupta A, Srinivasan G, Rathore LS (2006) Impact of climate change on Indian agriculture: a review. Clim Chang 78(2–4):445–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McKee TB, Doesken NJ, Kleist J (1993) The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scales. In Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Applied Climatology 1993 Jan 17 (Vol. 17, No. 22, pp. 179-183). Boston, MA: American Meteorological SocietyGoogle Scholar
  33. Meena PK, Khare D, Shukla R, Mishra PK (2015) Long term trend analysis of mega cities in Northern India using rainfall data. Ind J Sci Technol 8(3):247–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Menon A, Levermann A, Schewe J, Lehmann J, Frieler K (2013) Consistent increase in Indian monsoon rainfall and its variability across CMIP-5 models. Earth Syst Dyn 4:287–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Modarres R, da Silva VD (2007) Rainfall trends in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran. J Arid Environ 70(2):344–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mooley DA, Parthasarathy B (1984) Fluctuations of all India summer monsoon rainfall during 1871-1978. Clim Chang 6:287–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mooley DA, Parthasarathy B, Sontakke NA, Munot AA (1981) Annual rain-water over India, its variability and impact on the economy. J Climatol 1:167–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (2007) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  39. Pant GB, Rupa Kumar K (1997) Climates of South Asia. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, p 320Google Scholar
  40. Parthasarathy B, Sontakke NA, Munot AA, Kothawale DR (1987) Droughts/floods in the summer monsoon rainfall season over different meteorological subdivisions of India for the period 1871-1984. J Climatol 7:57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Parthasarathy B, Rupa Kumar K, Munot AA (1993) Homogeneous Indian monsoon rainfall: variability and prediction. Proc Indian Acad Sci (Earth Planet Sci):121–155Google Scholar
  42. Parthasarathy B, Munot AA, Kothawale DR (1995) All India monthly and seasonal rainfall series: 1871-1993. Theor Appl Climatol 49:217–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paul RK, Birthal PS (2016) Investigating rainfall trend over India using the wavelet technique. J Water Clim Chang 7(2):353–364Google Scholar
  44. Paul RK, Gupta P, Ghosh H (2013) Wavelet frequency domain approach for modelling and forecasting of Indian monsoon rainfall time-series data. J Ind Soc Agric Stat 67:319–327Google Scholar
  45. Pettit AN (1979) A non-parametric approach to the change point problem. J Appl Stat 28(2):126–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Piechota TC, Garbrecht JD, Schneider JM (2006) Climate variability and climate change. Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, United States of America, pp 3–18Google Scholar
  47. Pramanik SK, Jagannathan P (1954) Climatic changes in India rainfall. Indian J Meteorol Geophys 4:291–309Google Scholar
  48. Rajeevan M, Bhate J, Kale JD, Lal B (2006) High resolution daily gridded rainfall data for the Indian region: analysis of break and active monsoon spells. Cur Sci 296–306Google Scholar
  49. Rajeevan M, Bhate J, Jaswal AK (2008) Analysis of variability and trends of extreme rainfall events over India using 104 years of gridded daily rainfall data. Geophys Res Lett 35, L18707. doi:, 2008
  50. Rajeevan M, Unnikrishnan CK, Bhate J, Kumar N, Sreekala PP (2012) Northeast monsoon over India: variability and prediction. Meteorol Appl 19:226–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Raziei T, Saghafian B, Paulo AA, Pereira LS, Bordi I (2009) Spatial patterns and temporal variability of drought in western Iran. Water. Resour. Manage 23(3):439–455Google Scholar
  52. Sagarika S, Kalra A, Ahmad S (2014) Evaluating the effect of persistence on long-term trends and analyzing step changes in streamflows of the continental United States. J Hydrol 517:36–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Saha S, Chakraborty D, Choudhury BU, Singh SB, Chinza N, Lalzarliana C, Dutta SK, Chowdhury S, Boopathi T, Lungmuana AR, Ngachan SV (2015) Spatial variability in temporal trends of precipitation and its impact on the agricultural scenario of Mizoram. Curr Sci 109(12):2278–2282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Santer BD, Wigley TM, Boyle JS, Gaffen DJ, Hnilo JJ, Nychka D, Parker DE, Taylor KE (2000) Statistical significance of trends and trend differences in layer-average atmospheric temperature time series. J Geophys Res 105(D6):7337–7356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sen Roy S, Balling RC (2004) Trends in extreme daily precipitation indices in India. Int J Climatol 24(4):457–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sen Roy S, Mahmood R, Quintanar AI, Gonzalez A (2011) Impacts of irrigation on dry season precipitation in India. Theor Appl Climatol 104:193–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sharma S, Singh PK (2017) Long term spatiotemporal variability in rainfall trends over the State of Jharkhand, India. Climate 5:18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Singh N, Sontakke NA (2002) On climatic fluctuations and environmental changes of the Indo-Gangetic plains, India. Clim Chang 52(3):287–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Singh N, Sontakke NA, Singh HN, Pandey AK (2005) Recent trend in spatiotemporal variation of rainfall over India—an investigation into basin-scale rainfall fluctuations. IAHS-AISH Publication, 296, pp 273–282Google Scholar
  60. Solomon S (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis: contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  61. Sontakke NA, Singh N, Singh HN (2008) Instrumental period rainfall series of the Indian region (AD 1813—2005): revised reconstruction, update and analysis. The Holocene 18(7):1055–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stephenson DB, Rupa kumar K (2001) Searching for a fingerprint of global warming in the Asian summer monsoon. Mausam 52:213–220Google Scholar
  63. Taxak AK, Murumkar AR, Arya DS (2014) Long term spatial and temporal rainfall trends and homogeneity analysis in Wainganga basin, Central India. Weather Clim Extremes 4:50–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thapliyal V, Kulshrestha SM (1991) Climate changes and trends over India. Mausam 42:333–338Google Scholar
  65. Villarini G, Serinaldi F, Smith JA, Krajewski WF (2009) On the stationarity of annual flood peaks in the continental United States during the 20th century. Water Resour Res 45(8):W08417. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. von Neumann J (1941) Distribution of the ratio of the mean square successive difference to the variance. Ann Math Stat 12(4):367–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ward JH Jr (1963) Hierarchical grouping to optimize an objective function. J Am Stat Assoc 58(301):236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wong CL, Venneker R, Uhlenbrook S, Jamil AB, Zhou Y (2009) Variability of rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss 6:5471–5503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. World Meteorological Organization (2012) Standardized precipitation index user guide. (Svoboda, M., Hayes M., Wood, D.) WMO-No. 1090, Chair, Publications Board, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Geneva, Switzerland,pp 8–24Google Scholar
  70. Wu WB, Zhao Z (2007) Inference of trends in time series. J R Stat Soc Ser B69(3):391–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Last accessed 5th September, 2017Google Scholar
  72. Zarenistanak M, Dhorde AG, Kripalani RH (2014) Trend analysis and change point detection of annual and seasonal precipitation and temperature series over southwest Iran. J Earth Syst Sci 123(2):281–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saurav Saha
    • 1
  • Debasish Chakraborty
    • 2
  • Ranjit Kumar Paul
    • 3
  • Sandipan Samanta
    • 3
  • S. B. Singh
    • 1
  1. 1.ICAR Research Complex for NEH RegionMizoram CentreKolasibIndia
  2. 2.ICAR Research Complex for NEH RegionUmiamIndia
  3. 3.Division of Statistical GeneticsICAR-Indian Agricultural Statistics Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations