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Southwest monsoon may be less than normal, says IMD

Vishwanath Kulkarni New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 24, 2014

Less than normal rainfall can trigger drought and impact agricultural output, thereby resulting in lower economic growth and could spike inflation.   -  The Hindu

Southwest monsoon rains this year are likely to be just below normal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first official forecast on Thursday.

The probability of emergence of El Nino phenomenon, the warming sea surface temperatures in the Pacific that can trigger drought in countries including India, during the four month monsoon period are around 60 per cent, IMD said.

Quantitatively, the monsoon rainfall during the four month period June-September is likely to be 95 per cent of long period average (LPA), IMD said in a statement.

IMD’s forecast comes with an error margin of 5 per cent. LPA is the average of seasonal rainfall over the country as a whole from 1951 to 2000 estimated at 89 cm.

The weather body, however, did not issue any region-wise forecast for the monsoon rains. Normal monsoon is categorised as rainfall between 96 and 104 per cent of the 50 year average.

Lesser than normal precipitation can trigger drought and impact agricultural output thereby resulting in lower economic growth and could spike inflation. A good monsoon is crucial for crops like rice and sugarcane as about two-third of the farm lands are rainfed.

On Wednesday, the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum, a group of global weather forecasters had indicated about a strong possibility of evolution of an El Nino event during the monsoon.

The El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific continues to be neutral. “However, the sub-surface temperatures in the tropical pacific have warmed to the levels generally observed prior to an El Nino event. Latest forecast from a majority of the models also indicate warming trend in sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Pacific reaching to El Nino level during the southwest monsoon season with a probability of around 60 per cent,” IMD said.

Further, the IMD is also carefully monitoring the sea surface conditions over the Pacific and the Indian Oceans that have a strong influence on the monsoon.

Published on April 24, 2014
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