India may receive good monsoon this year: Agency

India may receive good monsoon this year: Agency

IMD officials express doubts about Skymet claims

India may receive adequate and well-distributed monsoon rainfall in 2013, claims a private weather analysis agency, which released its own monsoon forecast here on Wednesday.

The agency, Skymet, has forecast that south west monsoon would be 103 per cent of India's Long Period Average (LPA) of 89 cm between June and September with an error margin of four per cent on either side.  The LPA is average rainfall for the season between 1951 and 2000.

It also predicted month-wise rainfall pattern including precipitation in September with the same error margin. The forecast will be upgraded later.

The forecast from a private operator comes days ahead of Indian Meteorological's Department's (IMD’s) official monsoon forecast, which generally takes place by April end, in which IMD foretells about  the occurrence of monsoon for the entire season. The month-wise and region-wise forecasts come much later.

Skymet’s calculation suggests a slight dip in precipitation in August. It was attributed to a phenomenon called Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), marked by a temperature gradient between eastern and western side of Indian Ocean. Negative IOD is bad news for Indian monsoon.

“The slight weakness in the latter part of monsoon season could possibly be attributed to an evolving negative Indian Ocean Dipole,” said Jatin Singh, chief executive officer of Skymet. Scientists associated with IMD's monsoon forecast, however, felt it was too early to draw conclusions on IOD, whose effects become pronounced by August.

Going by the Skymet forecast, monsoon onset will happen on time and major portion of India will receive normal rainfall. But there are chances of less rainfall in east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and north Madhya Pradesh in June and July. Peninsular India may receive somewhat less rainfall in August.

Central India will have the least fluctuation with normal rainfall in those four months.

The forecast, claims Skymet, is based on its own model in which boundary conditions were given on April 1. The observational data was fetched from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which received basic weather data from every country.
Incidentally, IMD provides observational data to the WMO.

“We have our own dynamical model and computing powers. The results were compared with other publicly available forecast models from around the world. All models were saying 2013 monsoon will be normal,” Skymet chief meteorologist Mahesh Palawat told Deccan Herald.

IMD officials, however, expressed doubts on Skymet claims of having its own model and computational power. “We are not aware of any such model and computation power. We don't know the credibility or the confidence level of its model,” said one senior scientist, who does not wish to be named.

As Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka are battling drought, the country is eagerly waiting for the south-west monsoon. Skymet suggests if the Monsoon plays out as foreshadowed, there will be timely sowing of paddy and soyabean, cotton and tur. The sugarcane crop too will be normal.

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