Normal monsoon forecast

Normal monsoon forecast

But El Nino effect may upset predictions

Normal monsoon forecast

A normal monsoon is forecast this year, with the country set to receive 99 per cent of its rainfall quota, the Indian Meteorology Department indicated on Thursday.

Rainfall during monsoon season is likely to be 99 per cent of long period average (LPA) with a model error of five per cent, Union Science Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh said here. The seasonal LPA for the country between 1951 and 2000 is 89 cm.

“This means India will receive close to 88 cm of rainfall over four months between June and September,” said Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the union ministry of earth sciences.

IMD has made the April forecast using five predictors, four of which reflect atmospheric conditions in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The fifth is snow cover in Europe. An updated forecast will be made in June.

“Out of five parameters, one (Indian Ocean sea surface temperature) is favourable and one (north Atlantic SST) is unfavourable. The rest are neutral at the moment,” said D S Pai, an IMD scientist.

The Met agency, however, has not completely ruled out the chances of a below normal rainfall because of a distant possibility of emergence of El Nino – an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean that plays havoc with weather all over the world. A positive El Nino effect is bad news for India as it can adversely affect monsoon rainfall.

The weathermen suggested El Nino neutral conditions at the moment, but did not rule out its appearance in the second half of the season. Signatures from another weather phenomenon known as Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) – a temperature seesaw between eastern and western coastal waters of India – also portends deficient rainfall.

“The IOD is negative, which is not good for rainfall. But its a weak IOD that can be overcome by other factors. In any case, IOD comes into play only late in the monsoon season, around August-September,” M Rajeevan, adviser to the ministry of earth sciences and former monsoon forecaster with IMD told Deccan Herald.

Despite a positive monsoon forecast, large tracts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are reeling under drought like conditions. The Central government on Thursday formed an empowered group of ministers under Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to deal with the impending crisis.

“As drought conditions differ from state to state, Central teams are visiting every state. We will take action based on their recommendations,” Deshmukh said.

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