Monsoon mismatch: Rain deficit in 14 Punjab districts, deluge in Amritsar, Tarn Taran
As per the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) meteorological department Punjab is still 15% short of meeting the average rainfall target for the monsoon season, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Kapurthala received surplus rain
Monsoon patterns have been variable this season, with Amritsar and Tarn Taran witnessing a deluge due to heavy rainfall over the weekend, and parts of the Malwa region remaining completely dry or receiving sparse rainfall.
As per the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) meteorological department Punjab is still 15% short of meeting the average rainfall target. Of the 22 districts, 14 have received deficient rainfall, while districts like Kapurthala have received twice the amount of rainfall. Meanwhile, the rainfall deficit in Fazilka, Mohali, Barnala and Mansa has been around 50%.
Meteorologists say rainfall after September 20 could be harmful for the paddy crop as it will not only result in lodging of the crop, but will also curtail the crop maturity cycle.
“There has been a serious mismatch in terms of distribution of rainfall in the region. Take Kapurthala for instance, it has received 672.5mm of rainfall so far, while the average rainfall recorded till the second week of September in the district remains 329mm. On the other hand, in districts like Fazilka, there has been a deficit of 53%. The average rainfall recorded in Fazilka remains 260.3mm in the monsoon season, but the bordering district has so far recorded only 123.4mm of rainfall,” said Dr Prabhjyot Kaur Sidhu, head, department of climate change and agricultural meteorology, adding that mono-cropping could be the reason behind erratic rainfall.
In a recently conducted study, the department of climate change and agricultural meteorology, had found that in the last 21 years, monsoon in Punjab remained mostly below normal. The average rainfall remained 19 to 59 % lower than normal in at least 10 years, while in nine years the average rainfall remained 19% below normal. The state recorded normal or above normal rainfall for just two years in this period.
“This year too is no different. A similar rain patter was witnessed this year as well,” said Sidhu, adding that during the study it was found that the dip in rainfall was due to cloud formation over the region. Cloud formation is usually witnessed during the Kharif season (paddy season), when a huge amount of underground water is used for irrigation.
“The formation of cloud cover for an extended period has an adverse effect on the growth and photosynthesis process of the crop” said Dr Sidhu.
She said that decline in the rainfall especially in the Kandi areas of Gurdaspur, Ropar, SBS Nagar and some areas of Mohali, is a matter of concern. Earlier, the Kandi belt used to witness 1,100 to 1,200 mm rainfall during the monsoon season, but now these areas are not even witnessing 900mm rainfall.