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India Recorded Below-Normal June Rainfall, Highest Deficit in Five Years

Below-normal June rainfall in India challenges the initial optimism of an above-normal monsoon season, impacting agriculture and water resources nationwide.

KJ Staff
India Recorded Below-Normal June Rainfall, Highest Deficit in Five Years (Representational Photo Source: Pexels)
India Recorded Below-Normal June Rainfall, Highest Deficit in Five Years (Representational Photo Source: Pexels)

India's monsoon season has received a setback with below-normal rainfall recorded in June, according to the latest data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The country received 147.2 mm of rainfall, below the expected 165.3 mm for the month, marking it as the seventh lowest June rainfall since 2001.

Earlier predictions by the IMD had suggested above-normal rainfall for the season, estimating cumulative precipitation at 106% of the long-period average. However, June, a critical month accounting for 15% of the total monsoon season rainfall, fell short across several regions.

The monsoon's onset was timely, commencing over Kerala and the northeastern region on May 30, and progressing satisfactorily until Maharashtra. However, it lost momentum thereafter, delaying rainfall in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. This delay exacerbated a severe heat wave in northwest India.

IMD Chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra highlighted a 16-day period of below-normal rainfall from June 11 to June 27, contributing to the overall deficit. Northwest India saw a significant 33% rainfall deficit, while central India and east-northeast India faced 14% and 13% deficits, respectively. In contrast, south India recorded a surplus of 14% rainfall during June.

Looking ahead, IMD data suggests a historical trend where below-normal June rainfall often precedes normal or above-normal rainfall in July. This pattern offers some optimism for the remainder of the monsoon season. Forecasts indicate below-normal rainfall in northeast India, normal rainfall in northwest India, and above-normal rainfall in central and southern peninsular regions.

The monsoon's performance is crucial for India's agricultural sector, which heavily relies on rain-fed cultivation, covering 52% of the country's cultivated area. Additionally, the monsoon replenishes reservoirs essential for drinking water and power generation nationwide.

Scientists have noted current El Nino conditions, which typically weaken monsoon winds and lead to drier conditions in India. However, the possibility of La Nina developing by August-September offers hope for increased rainfall, as La Nina typically enhances monsoon activity.

As India navigates through fluctuating rainfall patterns, the agricultural sector and water management strategies remain pivotal in mitigating the impacts of unpredictable monsoon seasons.

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