INDIA’S MOODY MONSOON REFUSES TO RETREAT
Organisation: CarbonCopy, The Wire Science
Organisation size: Small
Publication date: 19/10/2021
Credit: Shreeshan Venkatesh
I am a visual and data journalist working with BBC. Previously I have worked with CarbonCopy and Kashmir Observer newspaper where I wrote on multiple beats.
It analysis India’s Southwest monsoon during the last five years- 2016-2021. It takes into account the onset of the southwest monsoon, trends in rainfall, rainfall during the peak season (June, July, August and September) and trends of southwest monsoon in India’s meteorological subdivisions. The project tries to bring out how much the rainfall trend has changed in the past five years and how new global connections to circulatory systems are becoming apparent as a result of climate change.
The project was done to make the audience aware of the changing trend in the Indian monsoon which may be due to climate change. The story tries to educate the audience about the effect of el Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific Ocean which affects the Indian monsoon.
While some regions in India were rain deficit, other areas received surplus rainfall. Distribution charts show that typically deficit rain regions such as West Madhya Pradesh, East Rajasthan, and Maharashtra’s Marathwada and Vidarbha have all seen surplus rains, while the rainiest pockets in Kerala, Odisha and the north-eastern states have recorded deficits. The story makes the audience aware of how erratic the monsoon has been in the past 5 years.
The story was also published by The Wire Science.
The data for the 5 years was available on the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) website. For extracting the data I used Tabula and Scraper extension (on Google Chrome). I cleaned the data on Google sheets and for analyzing I used pivot tables. Most of the visualizations used in the story were made from Google Sheet charts and Flourish.
What was the hardest part of this project?
There was an ample amount of data that was available with the IMD. Extracting the data was a bit tricky since the data was not easily downloadable from the website and the extraction process took a lot of time.
Some of the data was extracted from other sources as it was missing on the IMD website.
Analyzing the data required a lot of cleaning so that it can be presented to the audience in a simple way. One of the major challenge was to explain the science using numbers and visuals so that it is easily understood by the audience.
What can others learn from this project?
Science and data journalism can be combined together to present scientific terminologies in a understandable way along with visualizations.
For a country like India where most of the agriculture is rainfed, doing science journalism along with data will help to provide an objective way to explain how climate change is hampering the crops and livelihood of people.