The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a ‘normal’ monsoon this year and said there is a “very less possibility” of a deficient monsoon.
According to the IMD the season’s rainfall in the lower end of the normal range, at 97% of the long period average (LPA), its prediction matches private forecaster Skymet weather’s forecast, raising hopes of a normal monsoon.
This is the third consecutive year that the country’s national weather forecaster has predicted a ‘normal’ monsoon, although rains ended below normal last year. Rainfall between 96% and 104% of LPA during the June-September monsoon period is considered normal. IMD’s forecast comes with an error margin of +/-5%
“The forecast suggests maximum probability (42%) for normal monsoon and low probability (14%) for deficient rainfall,” said IMD Director General K J Ramesh while announcing the first official monsoon forecast for the year. IMD will update its forecast in June as the monsoon reaches mainland India. Along with the 42% probability of a normal monsoon, IMD said there was a 30% chance of below-normal rains and a 12% possibility of above-normal rainfall. What will need closer observation is the likely variation in rainfall with some areas suffering from a problem of plenty and others going drier.
The monsoon is likely to hit the country’s mainland in Kerala in last week of May or the first week of June, Ramesh said. The IMD will, however, release its forecast of monsoon’s onset in mid-May.
Though neutral conditions are expected in the Pacific, the one factor that could go against good rains is the possibility of conditions in the Indian Ocean turning slightly adverse — a weak negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) — during the second half of the monsoon season. The possibility of a negative IOD is the main reason why monsoon rainfall is forecast at 97%, and not higher. We would be closely watching conditions in the Indian Ocean,” an IMD official said.
The country had seen good rainfalls in 2016 and 2017 which resulted in high food grain production.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi