Monsoon: IMD has been consistently wrong
From July 9, each bulletin of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said monsoon is likely to begin its onset over Delhi during the following 24 hours. IMD’s Sunday bulletin continues to say the monsoon will arrive in another 24 hours as clouds hover over a city desperate for rain. Weathermen continue to hold out the promise of an overnight onset of the monsoon. Meanwhile, IMD scientists blame the situation on the unpredic-table nature of a large-scale system such as the southwest monsoon. Put otherwise, they are saying: Don’t blame us; it’s the weather. Some scientists said that even though easterly moisture-laden monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal covered several parts of northwest India, including Delhi, by the weekend, clouds didn’t form on Saturday. Some clouds formed on Sunday but didn’t bear rain, turning this year’s monsoon wait into something of a tragicomedy.
IMD has been consistently getting its forecast wrong this year. Last month, it hurriedly said that the monsoon would advance over Delhi nearly 12 days earlier on June 15. It failed to foresee that strong westerlies would weaken the monsoon flow and monsoon would take a “break” even before it covered India. On Sunday, M Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences, put out a strong defence of IMD, claiming it “puts best efforts to improve forecasts, invests hugely on observations, modelling & human resources”. He asked citizens to trust the institution, but acknowledged, “Our forecasts sometimes can go wrong!” If IMD wants to earn trust, it will need to refine systems for its projections. Monsoon models will also need to be adapted for the wild swings in weather systems the climate crisis will bring. As the rains play their mysterious game with the national Capital, IMD must use it as a wake-up call. Hopefully, it will be a wet Monday!