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UPSC Mains 2022

Explain the mechanism and occurrence of cloudburst in the context of the Indian subcontinent. Discuss two recent examples.

General Studies Paper - 3, Topic: Cloudburst

Dec 30, 2022

2 min read

Cloudburst is a meteorological phenomenon that occurs when a large amount of rain falls in a short period of time, usually within a few hours. It is most common in the Indian subcontinent during the monsoon season, which typically runs from June to September.




The mechanism behind cloudburst is related to the formation of clouds and rain. When moist, warm air rises and cools, it can form clouds. If the air cools enough, the water vapor in the air will condense into liquid droplets, forming rain. Cloudburst occurs when a large amount of moisture is available in the air and there is a strong lifting mechanism, such as a mountain range, to lift the air and cause it to cool quickly. This can result in a large amount of rain falling in a short period of time.


In the Indian subcontinent, cloudburst is often associated with heavy monsoon rains and can cause widespread flooding and landslides.


Two recent examples of cloudburst in the Indian subcontinent include:


1. In 2021, heavy monsoon rains caused a cloudburst in the state of Uttarakhand, leading to widespread flooding and landslides. The disaster caused significant damage to infrastructure and resulted in the loss of over 100 lives.


2. Cloudbursts in Madyan valley of Swat district in Pakistan and Hunza valley of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir caused flash flooding that destroyed homes and infrastructure, resulting in the loss of lives. The disaster also caused significant damage to agricultural lands, leading to food shortages in the region and glacial lake flooding.

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