Rains in August and September will have to be better than expected for the monsoon this year to be considered normal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has indicated in its latest update. Weather experts are concerned that an emerging El Niño weather phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean may cause a rain deficit in the last two months of the June-to-September monsoon.
IMD has predicted that in August and September, the rainfall will be 95% of the Long Period Average error margin of ± 8%. In June, the rainfall was 95% of the long period average (LPA) while in July it was 94% of the LPA.
“If the August-September forecast is 100% accurate, then rains for the entire monsoon season will be 95% of the LPA,” senior IMD official M Mohapatra said.
That would mean below normal rainfall, because the met agency considers it a normal monsoon if the rains are between 96% and 104% of LPA of of 887 mm. Rainfall in August and September has to be at the higher end of the error margin for the monsoon to be deemed normal. The IMD has not updated its overall forecast for the monsoon that was for 97% of the LPA, with a model error of ±4%. Normal monsoon rain is crucial for agriculture in Asia’s third largest economy, particularly the summer-sown Kharif crop that accounts for half of India’s food output. Sixty percent of India’s crop area lacks access to assured irrigation.
First Published: Aug 04, 2018 00:00 IST