As negotiators haggle in Glasgow, torrential rains and flooding in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu have killed at least 14 people in recent days. The heavy rains hit Chennai, the state capital, on Sunday and have continued throughout the week. Increasingly heavy downpours are one of the clearest impacts of climate change on extreme weather as warmer air holds more moisture, thus creating the conditions for more extreme storms. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and more than 1,700 people have been forced into relief camps.
Rain is common at this time of year in the region, but this week’s rainfall is well above average and has overwhelmed drainage systems built during the British era and still suffering damage caused by flooding in 2015. Heavy rains over the past two weeks have also flooded at least 145,000 acres of agricultural land in Tamil Nadu. (Death toll: AP; Homes, relief camps, and infrastructure: Business Insider India; Average rainfall: Times of India; Agriculture flooding: The Indian Express, DT Next; Climate Signals background: Extreme precipitation increase)