Vinson Kurian
Vinson Kurian

Marvelling at how the Elements refuse to be cowed down by geographical boundaries. Not for nothing that monsoons (southwest and northeast), western disturbances, easterly waves and the 'Big Dry' should lend themselves for focused watch here.

Vinson Kurian

Monsoon ball has been set rolling!

| Updated on April 18, 2013

Kochi. 29/10/06. Return of rains: Thulavarsham, the withdrawal of South West, has started in Kerala. Plantation workers of Munnar returning home through the rain. Photo:H_Vibhu.

Expectations of a normal southwest monsoon for India are gaining ground

It is still around 40 days to the onset of the annual rainy season for the subcontinent, for which the mean long-term timeline is June 1.

P.V. Joseph, Kochi-based eminent monsoon meteorologist and researcher, who is also a former director of India Meteorological Department, told this blogger that the 2013 monsoon is now truly in the making.

Or, this is what can be gauged from South and Southeast Bay of Bengal. Satellite pictures put out by India Meteorological Department have been showing a blob of huge mass of cloud slowly tracking to the north and northwest from the Equator.

This makes for a massive light and sound show in the skies, what with thunderstorms galore packed into the system. The cloud mass rains it down as it makes its slow march way towards the subcontinent.

This is also called the pre monsoon rain peak, coined so by Joseph, and carries a lot of weight in the scheme of analysis of the onset timeline of any given year. Joseph has assessed that the onset would happen two to three days ahead of the normal date this year.

But having said that, one should not forget that early onset does not guarantee optimal performance of the monsoon. Not by a long shot. Onset and ultimate progress of the monsoon work almost in silos, as have been in evidence many a time in the last few years.

The onset happens as a counterpart mass of cloud develops over Central and South Arabian Sea even as the Bay of Bengal cloud mass closes in. The Arabian Sea cloud mass precipitates the onset over a period of 10 days.

But even the best and timely onsets have been done in by formation of rogue low-pressure areas either in the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal. When these ‘low’s develop further into depressions/cyclones, as they are prone to during the onset phase, they all take away the monsoon moisture.

When availability of monsoon moisture flags in this manner, it severely affects the progress of the monsoon. This phase is marked by a hot summer sun battering the landscape, which delays sowing and makes things tough for not just the farmer but also common man.

Published on April 18, 2013

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