Typhoons spoiled 2012 monsoon, say experts

Even as the North-East monsoon (NEM) is on its last leg, both the South-West monsoon (SWM) and NEM in 2012 have been a huge disappointment for South India, Meteorological experts said here on Thursday.

While the overall rainfall from SWM (it withdrew on October 18) ended on a “barely normal” note (+8 per cent) of the “long period average” (LPA) amount for South India, the NEM has been worse except for Andhra Pradesh, which ironically reaped bountiful rains from cyclone “Nilam”.

Presenting their initial findings on the 2012 monsoon pattern at a meeting of the Indian Meteorological Society here, Dr Y E A Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Chennai, said Tamil Nadu ended with a deficit from both the monsoons in 2012.

The deficit faced was “-23 per cent” from the SWM and “-16 per cent” from the NEM. This was after eight years of unprecedented, good copious rainfall from 2004 to 2011. It was as if 2012 was a “correction” by nature after consistently above normal rainfall for those eight years, Dr Raj observed.

Stating that El Nino factor was among the global features that played a crucial role in the 2012 monsoon pattern over South India, Dr Raj said it was “intriguing” that the impact of El Nino varied during the Monsoon.

Another important reason for the poor performance of NEM was fallout of a deep depression located 950 km off Chennai. It gradually weakened and failed to bring the expected copious rains for the season, said Dr S R Ramanan, senior scientist of RMC, Chennai, who presented a “Review of the monsoons 2012”. In fact, none of the ten low pressure systems that usually arise during NEM period were formed this year, he said.

 Instead of bringing heavy rains, the southern peninsula experienced practically dry weather, said Dr Ramanan. The reason for that missed opportunity was ironically another turbulent system, a typhoon named “Baupho” that wrecked havoc in Philippines.

 The typhoon drew moisture almost completely from the Bay of Bengal side and saw to it that no system emerged from the South China Sea, thus rendering November 2012 a poor monsoon month for the southern peninsula, explained Dr Ramanan.

 Cyclone “Nilam”did not develop into a very severe cyclonic storm as winds came in different directions, said Dr Ramanan.

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