Southwest monsoon 'below normal' this year: MoES Secretary

Southwest monsoon 'below normal' this year: MoES Secretary
The south-west monsoon was “below normal” this year, the earth sciences ministry secretary said on Sunday, while noting that it may impact the agriculture sector in some parts of the country.

M Rajeevan, Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, “monsoon was 95% of the Long Period Average (LPA), which is below normal”. Anything between 96–104% of the LPA is considered as a “normal” monsoon.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had revised the monsoon forecast to 98% of the LPA in June after earlier pegging it at 96%.

“The first two months of the monsoon season witnessed 3% more rainfall above normal, while the remaining two months witnessed deficiency of 12.5%,” said Rajeevan.

The rainfall season in India starts from June 1 and ends on September 30. Of the 36 weather subdivisions of the country, six — East Uttar Pradesh, West Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha, Punjab, the cluster of Chandigarh, Delhi and Haryana and East Madhya Pradesh — received “deficient” rainfall.

Rajeevan said the southern peninsula, the east and the northeast regions received good rainfall. The season also witnessed several parts of the country such as coastal Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Gujarat and Rajasthan and the northeastern states, being battered by extremely heavy rainfall.

The monsoon was not that bad and there was also no reason to expect drought in parts of the country, Rajeevan said. “There could be some impact on agriculture in some parts of the country, but the Agriculture Ministry is in a better position to talk on this,” he added.

Several parts of the country are witnessing agriculture distress. Earlier this year, there were reports that an El Nino, a phenomenon associated with the heating of Pacific waters, could impact the monsoon.

But the IMD had downplayed it and later revised the monsoon forecast to 98% of the LPA. It had also said that there were prospects of a positive, but weak India Ocean Dipole (IOD). The IOD is associated with the heating of the waters of the Indian Ocean and a positive IOD can have a good influence on the monsoon.

“We had said that the monsoon could be 98% of the LPA with an error margin of 5%. So, that is well within our forecast,” Rajeevan said.
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