Monsoon likely to be normal

Forecast has an error bar of 5 per cent

Monsoon likely to be normal

The seasonal monsoon forecast is likely to be 98 per cent of the last 50 years’ average, which is 89 cm, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said here on Friday. The forecast has a error bar of five per cent on either side.

According to the IMD classification, if monsoon is between 96 and 104 per cent of the long period average (LPA), it will be called “normal monsoon.” Earlier the same category was described as “near normal”.

The Met agency will update its forecast in July and August besides forecasting the monsoon onset day in Kerala next month. Also for the first time it will forecast the break period for 127 agro-climatic zones 15 days in advance.

Parameters

The forecast was based on a 5 parameter statistical model and factoring in El Nino – a sea-surface temperature anomaly in the Pacific that influences weather all over the world. An El Nino year generally triggers bad monsoon in India.

“All parameters are evolving and being watched. Ditto for El Nino that started strengthening since October 2009 and peaked in the third week of December. Though it is weakening since late December, El Nino is likely to maintain till early part of the monsoon season,” said Ajit Tyagi, IMD director general.

Tyagi said at the moment, the chances of a 2009 repeat is remote. Last year, the weathermen first predicted 94 per cent monsoon, which was revised to 93 per cent in June and further brought down to 87 per cent as the spectre of drought was visible in close to 200 districts. The actual rainfall was about 77 per cent of the LPA.

Last year paddy could not be cultivated in 54 lakh hectares of land leading to a shortage of 10 million tonnes of rice. Oilseeds and sugarcane were affected too.

Earlier this month climate scientists from all over the world gathered at Pune to find out
ways for improving monsoon forecast. They too said that 2010 monsoon is “likely to be within the normal range.”

But since El nino was taken into account, IMD officials said that the “probability of having a normal monsoon is on the lower side.”

But the forecast can improve in June if El nino moves towards neutrality and favourable La Nina – opposite to El Nino – develops.

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