Agri Business

Monsoon: The best June in 12 years

Vishwanath Kulkarni Harish Damodaran New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

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This June has turned out to be the best ever for the Indian monsoon in the past 12 years.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the country has received an area-weighted rainfall of 216.3 mm, which was 32.3 per cent higher than the ‘normal’ or historical long-period average (LPA) for the month.

The last time it rained so much in June was in 2001, with the all-India average of 219 mm. In all, there have been only eight years since the start of the 20th century, which have received more rains in June than the month that just went by: 1980 (219.8 mm), 1978 (218.1 mm), 1971 (240.6 mm), 1938 (277.2 mm), 1936 (252.1 mm), 1917 (218.1) and 1916 (233.8 mm).

A good June need not, however, translate into a good monsoon season as such. The year 2002 saw June receive 9.4 per cent surplus rainfall (vis-à-vis the LPA). But, 2002 witnessed a bad drought, with the monsoon season (from June to September) ending with a deficit of 19.2 per cent.

The same thing happened in 2004, when there was only a marginal shortfall of 0.8 per cent in June, but the season ended with a 13.8 per cent deficit.

The last drought year in 2009 witnessed the worst ever June with a 47.2 per cent rainfall deficit. The worst case scenario this year could be if a repeat of 2002 happens. That year witnessed surplus rains in June but a severe deficit of 54.2 per cent in July, making it the worst ever in the country’s meteorological history for that month. Good rains in June usually spur large-scale early sowing by farmers. But if the July rains falter, the crop that has been sown early may experience moisture stress, affecting its vegetative growth.

That happened in 2002, and the hope now is that it will not repeat itself this month.

The IMD has predicted normal rains for July and August this year. Rainfall is expected to be 101 per cent of LPA for July and 96 per cent of LPA for August.

>vishwanath.kulkarni@thehindu.co.in

>damodaran.h@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 01, 2013

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