Partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research

Monsoon Asia

When the monsoon weakens for years on end, widespread suffering results.

Monsoon failures and resulting decline in availability of water have repeatedly affected the agrarian economies of monsoon Asia in the past century and recent years. High rates of population, poverty & natural resource degradation along with heavy dependence on monsoon for rainfed agriculture makes these countries particularly vulnerable to even small deviation in rainfall patterns. Severe drought episodes have manifested across vast areas of South Asia since early 2000s, affecting regions of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal leading to major drops in food production and GDPs. The worst recorded 2011 drought in Afghanistan is estimated to have affected 2.6 million people. In 2012, Pakistan suffered from severe drought leading to mass displacements of affected population. The same year, millions of people in western India suffered from acute water scarcity, crop failures and productivity decline in other economically important sectors such as forestry and fisheries.