Agri Business

Monsoon will withdraw in October third week, says expert from Germany

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on September 19, 2019

File Photo   -  The Hindu

The southwest monsoon is likely to withdraw from the central parts of India between October 14 and 24, extending the four-month rainy season further, a senior scientist at a renowned climate research institute in Germany has said.

Elena Surovyatkina, a physicist working on weather modelling at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany, said the withdrawal of monsoon this year is expected to be in the third week of October.

Extended monsoon days

The season got extended because of very high temperatures on the periphery of monsoon in Pakistan and Afghanistan, said Surovyatkina, who was here this week to participate in a workshop on East Africa Peru India Climate Capacities (EPICC) that PIK organised together with the The Energy and Resources Institute and other institutions.

Even though the monsoon normally begins to withdraw from North-Western parts of the country from September 1, it has not happened so far.

Her team, she said, has been reliably forecasting the monsoon withdrawal from India since 2016. “This time we have forecast it around 70 days in advance,” Surovyatkina, who leads a group on Indian monsoon forecasting at EPICC, told BusinessLine.

She claimed that the PIK forecast was the only long-term forecast available for withdrawal of monsoon in India. “The monsoon withdrawal date is of crucial importance for a billion people in India. In a warming world, severe storms and floods during monsoon retreat are becoming more frequent. Such a long-term forecast could help the government to do strategic planning, consolidate resources, and strengthen capacity to respond effectively to disasters,” she said.

Flood havoc

This year, she said, heavy monsoon rains have triggered flooding in central and northern parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, leaving numerous casualties, tens of thousands displaced and millions affected. National Disaster Response Forces are working round-the-clock, conducting rescue operations, helping children and carrying the elderly out of flooded houses, the scientist said.

The summer monsoon rainfall is the most important source of water in India. About 80 per cent of the river flow occurs during the four to five months of the summer monsoon season. India collects and stores rainwater in dams in monsoon seasons to sustain themselves in the dry season. In particular, hydroelectric power plants are driven by water collected during the monsoons.

“This is why at the end of monsoon season the main goal is to save as much water as possible. The release of dam water during that period is sharply criticised, because it’s a waste of the most valuable resource. However, when dams are full and heavy rains come, it can trigger dams spilling and floods with catastrophic consequences,” Surovyatkina said.

Published on September 19, 2019

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