Skymet sees below normal south-west monsoon as another El Nino is in the making

The Monsoon will be below normal this year and the western India is likely to experience a deficient rainfall, Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, said on Monday, raising fears of another difficult year for farmers in the country.

El Nino - a phenomenon associated with warming of Pacific waters - is being attributed as one of the main reasons behind a possibly weak monsoon this year.

Weather Risk, another private forecasting agency has predicted an El Nino event this year and said it is likely to have a negative impact on the southwest monsoon during the later part of the monsoon period.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will come out with its monsoon forecast next month.

Representative image. AP

Representative image. AP

First half of the monsoon period might see better rainfall than the later half, said Jatin Singh, the CEO of Skymet.

Regions like Gujarat, Konkan and Goa, central Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu may record below average rainfall while east India, especially Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal are most likely to see normal monsoon rains throughout the season.

"Evolving El Nino may start affecting the monsoon performance July onward. Nevertheless, presence of positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) could help in tempering the adverse impact of El Nino," he said.

A positive IOD is associated with cooling of Indian Ocean waters, which has an impact on the monsoon.

The Skymet said pre-monsoon rains would be less during April that would eventually lead to intense heating of the land mass.

"Pre-Monsoon activities may pick up pace during May," Singh said.

A column in Reuters last month had said that El Nino may be fast-tracking to arrive by summer this year and that its this year recurrance is unusual as the phenomenon is known to return only only once in 2-7 years.

"A record-breaking El Niño surfaced in mid-2015 and lasted through early 2016, after which SSTs dropped off and gave way to the relatively weaker La Niña event to cap off the year. But following the previous occurrences of strong El Niño – 1997/98, 1982/83, 1972/73 – the warm cycle did not appear again until three or four years later. So the possible return of El Niño this year would present a unique situation against which there is not much comparable data," said columnist Karen Braun.

Another report by the news agency said the South African Weather Service also sees increased prospects of an El Nino weather pattern forming in the next few months, advising the public there to keep track of the developments.

El Nino usually heralds dry weather in southern Africa. Last year it was seen as the main cause of a drought that hit crop production, fuelling inflation and crimping economic growth.

Given the warning signs from across the globe, it would be better for the Indian government to start gearing up for the truant weather that is likely to negatively impact the economic growth.

With inputs from Reuters and PTI

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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2017 08:55:22 IST

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