Cherrapunji Rainfall Record Investigation

17 July 2007: Investigation of Purported Cherrapunji 24-hour Rainfall Record A report published in the International Journal of Meteorology by O.N. Dhar and S. Nandargi and Mausam (2006) indicated that on 10 June 2003 Cherrapunji India recorded a daily (24-hour) rainfall total of 1840 mm. Such a value would establish a new world record for 24-hour rainfall exceeding the value recorded at La Reunion Island in 1966.

However, at the request of the Rapporteur of Climate Extremes, an investigation by Dr. Rupa Kumar Kolli (Chief, World Climate Applications & CLIPS Division, World Climate Programme Department, World Meteorological Organization) indicated that the value was in error. According to Dr. Kolli, a meteorologist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) first pointed out some inconsistencies in the different data sets that she has been working with, around the date of interest for Cherrapunji. Subsequently, Dr. Kolli then took up the matter with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) with the help of Dr. M. Rajeevan (Director, National Climate Centre, IMD; Member, CCl ET1.3 on DARE) who launched a full-scale investigation tracing back to the original records at the reporting station. After a careful scrutiny of all relevant records, it now appears that the 1840 mm value is an inadvertent typographical error that crept into the publication of the notable rainfall figures in the journal Mausam, issued by the IMD. The actual rainfall at Cherrapunji on or around that day was clearly nowhere closer to 184 cm, and indeed it could be a case of wrong reporting of the units. The original data sheet indicates the rainfall on 10 June 2003 as 184 mm. No 24-hour rainfall record was achieved.