Monsoon's 'odd behaviour' worries weathermen

All eyes on the revival of the Bay of Bengal arm of southwest monsoon

Even though a couple of low-pressure zones were formed in the Bay of Bengal , none were transformed into normal rain-bearing depressions.  Thanks to of the depression-less first-half of the monsoon season the country still has five per cent rainfall deficiency. “If such a trend persists for two or three consecutive years, it may impact the entire country’s rainfall,” Ajit Tyagi, Director-General of the Indian Meteorological Department, said here.

Monsoon’s anomalous behaviour was caused by the lack of a temperature gradient in the Bay of Bengal due to which low-pressure zones were not converted into depression. As a result vast stretches of central and eastern India could not get adequate rainfall.  A similar trend was seen in June last year, which in turn culminated in drought in close to 200 districts. The massive shortage in June could not be made up in the rest of the season.

Typically, the temperature of north bay should be 2-3 degrees higher than the southern bay. The difference helps converting the low pressure zones into depression. “But this year, there was no gradient. The temperature was uniform (about 30 degrees Celsius) across the Indian Ocean,” said Tyagi.

Eastern India suffers the most from the anomaly. “Rainfall is on the lower side in north east India, which includes Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal and East Uttar Pradesh. As of now, the region has 24 per cent shortage,” he said.

In the next two months, the situation may improve due to other climatic factors. But the eastern region may still end up having a 10 per cent shortfall, he said.  Veteran weather forecaster M Rajeevan, too, agreed that the trend being seen in the last few years is a matter of deep concern. “The loss of gradient is disturbing. The frequency of low pressure zone formation has reduced. And it is not intensifying,” Rajeevan, a senior scientist at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory at Tirupati told Deccan Herald.

Tyagi, however, insisted that it was too early to press the panic button as there were five-six years in the last 137 years when an entire monsoon season elapsed without a depression. In June-July, India received only 95 per cent of its rainfall quota.

The met agency hopes that with La Nina giving positive signals, August-September could be wetter (107 per cent) and southern peninsula could be the maximum beneficiary. But weathermen are keeping their fingers crossed on the revival of the Bay of Bengal arm of the southwest monsoon.

Konkan rail services suspended

Mumbai, July 30, DHNS:

Due to continuous unprecedented rainfall and resultant landslide and soil slippage into a section between Nivsar and Adavali in Ratnagiri district, the train services on Konkan railway route continued to remain suspended, the KRC said on Friday.

Thousands of workers are engaged in restoring tracks at Nivsar under the supervision of senior KRC officials and the train services are most likely to be resumed from August 2-3, KRC sources here said.

A dozen long-distance trains between Mumbai and Mangalore running across the Konkan route remained cancelled. The downpour has also resulted in poor visibility for the Loco-Pilots in this section, restricting the speed of trains to 40 kmph wherever required.

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