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Monsoon forecast should bring cheer

Monsoon forecast should bring cheer

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the monsoon rainfall this year will be 6 per cent more than the long period average (LPA) of 870 mm.

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Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 00:24 IST
Last Updated : 17 April 2024, 00:24 IST
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The forecast of an above-normal monsoon this year should bring cheer to the country reeling under drought, heat waves and water-scarce conditions.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the monsoon rainfall this year will be 6 per cent more than the long period average (LPA) of 870 mm.

Private forecaster Skymet has predicted a normal monsoon. A normal monsoon means rainfall between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of the LPA between June and September.

There are differences between the IMD and Skymet in the weightage given to the factors that influence the monsoon but both are in agreement on the overall impact. Though the IMD had predicted a normal monsoon last year, it was below normal. That was mainly because of the El Nino factor which is associated with the warming of the sea in the Central Pacific. The IMD expects the El Nino to weaken in the early part of the monsoon but Skymet expects its “remnant effects” to linger. 

A normal monsoon is important for the country which depends on it in many ways. Though agriculture accounts for only about 17 per cent of the nation’s economy now, the monsoon plays a crucial role in it. More than half of the cultivable area in the country is unirrigated and depends on the monsoon. About 60 per centof the kharif crops are monsoon-dependent.

Large numbers of people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. A good monsoon results in greater rural income and demand, which should give an impetus to the economy, too. The IMD prediction gives only the likely broad trend of the monsoon and the agency is expected to update it with details about the spatial and temporal distribution of the rains next month. This will serve as a better guide to farmers, governments, and others. According to present indications, the rainfall may be below normal in some parts of the country, though the national average is likely to be above normal. 

Much of the optimism about the monsoon arises from the possibility of La Niña conditions, which are associated with the cooling of the Pacific Ocean waters, developing in August and aiding the monsoon.

The IMD has said that other factors like positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions, a phenomenon relating to the surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean, and the lower snow cover in the northern hemisphere would also help to strengthen the monsoon in the second part of the season.

Governments, both at the Centre and in the states, are busy with the Lok Sabha elections now but they will have to start planning for the monsoon, especially because there is the possibility of it coming short in the early part of the season. 

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