Now, IMD predicts weak monsoon

Now, IMD predicts weak monsoon

India may experience a weak South-West monsoon this year in which the rainfall would be 95 per cent of average precipitation, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced on Thursday.

The official forecast comes with a model error of 5 per cent on either side, which means the average rainfall can vary between 90 and 100 per cent. As per the IMD classification, rainfall between 90-96 per cent is “below normal” whereas 96-104 per cent is “normal.”

The seasonal rainfall is likely to be 95 per cent of the long period average of 89 cm, IMD said in a statement. The average was calculated over a 50-year period, between 1951 and 2000.

As most of India lacks irrigation facilities, monsoon is the only hope for farmers. A sub-normal monsoon can reduce agriculture production and add to their misery.

Probabilistic calculations, too, suggest less than 10 per cent chance of rainfall becoming “above normal” or “excess.” More than 50 per cent chances are of “deficient” or “below normal” monsoon.

“No model is showing above normal monsoon and the tendency is towards deficient or below normal rainfall. We should be prepared with more short duration and drought tolerant crops and varieties that need less water,” L S Rathore, director general of IMD, told Deccan Herald.

Even experimental monsoon forecast models indicate towards rain shortage. One of these models even gave an alarmist forecast of 88 per cent rainfall with a model error of 5 per cent on either side.

The official forecasting model is different from these experimental ones and based on five climatic parameters.

IMD will update the forecast in June when it will give forecast for four broad homogeneous regions and also a forecast for July, which is the most crucial for farmers because of sowing.

The principal culprit behind the sub-normal forecast is El Nino–an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean–which influences weather all over the world.

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