We are barely into the second month of the New Year 2013, but farmers have started thinking loud and exchanging ideas and observations about what it would be like going forward on the weather/climate front. In South India, the nip in morning air could be felt at least for another month, but days are getting drier and hotter. Hence the emerging worry lines over farmer faces as they await the real thing – the ‘Big Dry’ of March, April and May.

The winter is well-established and prolonged along latitudes to the North flanked by the East. They have extended cool climes until after the harvest festival of ‘Holi.’ Plantation owners of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have already given vent to their concerns about the emerging weather.

Speaking from Coimbatore, Mr Lakshmanan, who owns tea plantations in the Coonoor belt, said as far as he can recollect 2012 is the only year since 1982 to have returned a deficit twin-monsoon. Both the southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon had failed in 2012 just as it had exactly 30 years ago, Mr Lakshmanan said citing data available with him.

Is this indicative of the so-called ‘decadal cycle’ in weather/climate returning, he wondered. If yes, which way would the next decadal cycle would go – dry or wet? Mr Lakshmanan said there are multinational interests waiting in the wings to see the sun set over the plantation sector to force a generational change in the ‘breakfast plus tea’ habit in India. Emerging weather has crucial implications for not just tea plantations of South India but also those of coffee.

Mr Avinash from the Chickmagalur coffee belt of Karnataka would vouch for this. He too was worried about the summer showers season just ahead.