Sunday, 23 July, 2017

Southwest monsoon to be normal in 2017, says IMD

A commuter uses his briefcase to protect himself from rain in New Delhi A commuter uses his briefcase to protect himself from rain in New Delhi India
Debra Rodriguez | 19 April, 2017, 01:44

Southwest monsoon is likely to be "near normal" this year with possibility of a "good distribution" of rainfall across the country, the weatherman said today, news that would bring cheer to farmers in parched areas.

"As per present estimation, the distribution of rainfall is likely to follow the climatological factors... we assess normal rainfall at 96 percent (plus/minus 5 per cent)", IMD Director General K.J. Ramesh said at press conference here. IMD issues another updated forecast in June.

Earlier there were reports by private forecasters that monsoon this year may be below normal due to an evolving El Nino phenomenon.

The monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because almost half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.

A normal monsoon is crucial for agriculture growth as India still to a large extent depend on rains and monsoon delivers 70 per cent of total rains received by the country in a year. Typically, it cuts rainfall in South Asia, including India, and triggers flooding in western United States and South America. There is almost 38% probability of mere normal rainfall in India in 2017.

Last year, the southern peninsula had registered deficient rainfall and several parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala reeled under drought-like situation.

Several parts of these states are now facing drought-like situation, and if good rainfall continue to elude these regions, the problems are likely to exacerbate.

India received average rains in 2016, after suffering two successive years of drought for only the fourth time in over a century, driving farmers to penury and some of them to suicide.

"But there is no one-to-one relationship between El Nino and the monsoon", said D. Sivananda Pai, head of the forecasting team at IMD Pune.

"There is an uncertainty, as probability of moderate El Nino in August has reduced".

"Notwithstanding the modest contribution of agriculture to the overall GDP, the monsoon outlook would have some impact on consumption sentiment, both for consumer non-durables and big ticket items such as agri inputs, motorcycles and tractors among others", she said.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Nino, is an irregular oscillation of sea-surface temperatures in which the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part.

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