Monsoon Timing and Variability Impact Internal Migration in India

Authors: Douglas Hopping*, , Douglas L Hopping, University of North Carolina
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Migration, Asia
Keywords: Population Geography, Migration, Environment and Migration, India, South Asia, Monsoon
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Cabinet Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper creates a set of locally specific climate measures designed to explore population environment questions on the Indian subcontinent and then uses those measures to examine the effect of changes in regional weather patterns on medium and long-term migration. In India, the South Asian summer monsoon rains are the dominant climate feature throughout much of the country. The timing of monsoon onset, the frequency and duration of droughts, and the severity of extreme rainfall events have all been shown to have an impact on particular aspects of household decision-making and agricultural productivity beyond the effects of total rainfall. Furthermore, these aspects of the monsoon are changing (Singh et al. 2014) and the monsoon has become both weaker and more variable over the past 50 years (Dash et al. 2009, Goswami et al. 2006).

Using gridded climate data from NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), I create gridded measures of monsoon timing and variability which I link to social survey data from the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS). These measures are then used to along with traditional temperature and rainfall anomalies to look at the impact of the monsoon on medium and long-term migration in India.

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