India's Met department has shrugged off concerns that a developing weather pattern known as a "negative Indian Ocean dipole" could have a major impact on this year's monsoon.
"There is no major indication of lower-than-normal precipitation," Met department chief LS Rathore told HT on Wednesday, brushing aside fears expressed by some private and international forecasters.
A "negative Indian Ocean dipole" results from a persisting warming up of the eastern flank of the Indian Ocean, which is associated with weaker rains in India. Some weather experts have cited this as a key risk for the monsoon.
Temperatures have continued to be warmer than average in the eastern Indian Ocean, according to the Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. At the same time, the western Indian Ocean has cooled down.
As a result of this pattern, the "Indian Ocean Dipole" index has remained below 0.4°C since mid-May. If until late July, this index remains below 0.4°C, 2013 will be classified as a "negative Indian Ocean Dipole year".
A negative dipole increases the chances of above-average rainfall in Australia but lower the odds for India.
Rathore said the normal forecast made by his department had accounted for the possibility of a "negative dipole".
"The negative dipole on its own cannot lead to a deficit monsoon. No single parameter can determine the health of the monsoon," he said, adding, "So far, Pacific Ocean parameters are quite favourable."
The Met, in its forecast on April 26, had predicted a normal monsoon at 98%. Falls between 96% and 104% of 89 cm - the 50-year average - are considered normal. However, this forecast is likely to be revised in mid-June, for which calculations were still being made.