The minimum temperatures in December are likely to remain above normal in most parts of the country, though rainfall may help maximum temperature to remain at normal levels in key rabi crops producing States, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.

Addressing media on the weather outlook for December, IMD Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said in the El Nino year, the temperature normally remains above normal. Currently, the world is experiencing the impact of El Nino. However, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions in the Pacific Ocean are likely to be neutral during India’s next monsoon season (June-September), he said.

Less than normal cold wave

“The majority of models indicate El Nino will persist through April-June 2024 and then transition to ENSO-neutral,” Mohapatra said. However, it is too early to speculate on monsoon as many models also indicate prevailing positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are likely to weaken to become neutral by June-July, scientists said.

During the upcoming winter season (December 2023 to February 2024), above normal minimum and maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country, IMD said. However, normal to below normal maximum temperatures are likely over central and north-west India are likely to be observed this winter, it said.

Possibly due to the higher temperature,, occurrence of cold waves over north, north-west, central, east and north-east regions of the country in winter is likely to be less than normal.

Predicting the rainfall for December, Mohapatra said the southern peninsular region (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Kerala and south interior Karnataka) is most likely to be normal, which is 69-131 per cent of its Long Period Average (LPA). On the other hand, rainfall over the country as a whole this month is likely to be above normal, more than 121 per cent of LPA.

Rabi crops hope

He also said above-normal rainfall is most likely over the north-west, adjoining areas of central and east India and some areas of extreme south peninsular India.

According to IMD data, the all India mean temperature was the highest value since 1901 in the month of August, September and November. Though IMD did not project whether similar temperature for December, sources said it could be possible as El Nino impact is still visible.

After a lower output of kharif crops, the government is hoping for a good harvest of rabi crops and both temperature and rainfall will decide the yield. However, officials are hopeful of lowering the risk to key winter cereal wheat due to the higher availability of climate-resilient varieties as 70 per cent of wheat area has been covered by these heat-tolerant seeds in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.