Soothing concerns regarding rainfall shortage, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the monsoon is expected to be average this year. It also downplayed the El Nino weather phenomenon.
El Nino is the periodic warming of water in the Pacific Ocean every few years. When it occurs, it means more energy is available for storms to form there. It also affects wind shear, which is when air currents at a lower altitude blow in a different direction from winds higher in the atmosphere. It also harm the global climate and disrupts normal weather patterns.
The IMD said that rainfall was likely to be 96 per cent of the Long Period Average. The Long Period Average, defined as the average of monsoon rainfall over a 50-year period between 1951 and 2000, for the country is 89 cm and the possibility of rainfall being excessive or above normal was very low.
“We are expecting near normal monsoon and a good distribution of rain across the country. The kharif crops will not be affected. Farmers will be happy. It’s good news for farmers on an auspicious day when many states are celebrating their new year,” M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said
“We have said there is a 55 per cent chance of below normal rains, 15 per cent chance of drought, 0 per cent chance of above normal rainfall. But IMD has predicted a 10 per cent chance of above normal rains which is nearly impossible in an El Nino year. They have also altered the categories, now below normal is 90 per cent to 96 per cent while near normal is 96 to 104 per cent so 96 per cent falls in both categories. One of their models has forecast 94 per cent of LPA so we don’t see much deviation,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of Climate and Meteorology, at Skymet Weather.
Nearly half of all Indians who are dependent on a farm-based income. Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer or monsoon sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds. For good farm output, the rains have to be not just normal but also evenly spread across states.