Monsoon alert: India may receive higher than predicted rainfall this year, says IMD

New Delhi: India may receive a higher rainfall this year than previously predicted, a top India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said on Wednesday citing the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon.

India would see normal monsoon with 96 percent of rainfall still maintained as the current forecast, and an update could only be known by the first week of June, KJ Ramesh, director general of IMD, told IANS.

"From the current trend where for now the strong El Nino is weakening, the monsoon may increase," he said.

"We will still have to wait and watch though," Ramesh said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

According to the IMD official, the actual status of the overall rainfall in India depends on the future status of El Nino and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) activities.

The pattern suggests that a moderate or strong El Nino and a positive IOD results in good rainfall.

El Nino is a climatic phenomenon which is the warm phase of the cycle in the Pacific Ocean and IOD is a climate event occurring over the equatorial Indian Ocean. Both impact the monsoon.

The IMD earlier in April predicted a 96 percent monsoon for 2017 season average, with a moderate error estimated at 'plus-minus five percent' of the Long Period Average (LPA).

On Tuesday, some reports claimed IMD predicting that the monsoon could be above normal and bring 100 percent rainfall instead of 96 percent predicted earlier.

The IMD assessment also suggested 38 percent of probability for "near normal monsoon rainfall", depending on the situation of El Nino and IOD.

A figure between 96 and 104 percent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 percent above normal.

"There are two constraints; first is being near normal which is about 96 percent. The second prediction is based on a weakening trend of the El Nino, which may lead towards the positive trend of a near normal rainfall (based on the 38 percent probability). But we will still have to wait for the actual range," Ramesh said.

He further added that the present trends which may lead to a moderate El Nino could increase the rainfall based on the 36 percent probability and a positive trend on the error estimation of plus-minus five percent of the Long Period Average (LPA).

"But we will have to see when does that happens," Ramesh said.

Indian monsoon period is from 1 June to 30 September, which is the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.

"We have not issued any update of the monsoon, that would be in the first week of June. For now the prediction is still 96 percent with error estimate of plus-minus five," M Mohapatra, IMD scientist, said.

According to private weather forecaster Skymet, if we predict the Long Period Average from the current pattern, the monsoon would be not more than 98 per cent or in normal conditions around 97 per cent.

"However, there are no chances of a 100 per cent rainfall," Mahesh Palawat, director Skymet, told IANS.

He added that the season would be good for the farmers anyway.

"There are no heavy pre-monsoon rains to destroy the wheat during harvest season, and by June, the time of planting the paddy, rainfall would range from good to moderate," Palawat said.

He added that while East and Central India would see normal monsoon, the pattern in northwest region including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, where monsoon had been below normal for past two years, will see a comparative weaker monsoon.

"These areas have irrigation facilities, which would balance the water consumption with the rainfall," Palawat added.

Published Date: May 10, 2017 21:02 PM | Updated Date: May 11, 2017 11:28 AM

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