IMD predicts ‘normal’ monsoon, asks farmers to plan sowing based on forecasts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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IMD predicts ‘normal’ monsoon, asks farmers to plan sowing based on forecasts

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
May 27, 2023 03:16 AM IST

Overall, monsoon rainfall is expected to be normal over the country at 96% of LPA, with an error margin of +/-5%, IMD said on Friday.

The monsoon rains will likely be below normal in northwest India, India’s weather office said on Friday, raising the prospect of rural distress and inflation should its prediction hold.

In its May-end update of the critical southwest monsoon, IMD said monsoon rainfall is expected to be below normal.(PTI)
In its May-end update of the critical southwest monsoon, IMD said monsoon rainfall is expected to be below normal.(PTI)

The region is home to almost a third of India’s population, and accounts for around 30% of the value added in agriculture and the country’s paddy production.

In its May-end update of the critical southwest monsoon, IMD said monsoon rainfall is expected to be below normal, or less than 92% of long period average over northwest India with an error margin of +/-4%. Over the rest of country, monsoon rainfall is expected to be normal at 94% to 106% of LPA .

There’s more bad news — monsoon rainfall in June is also expected to be below normal, and across the country, IMD has forecast. That could badly affect sowing of the kharif or monsoon-sown crop.

Overall, monsoon rainfall is expected to be normal over the country at 96% of LPA, with an error margin of +/-5%, IMD said on Friday. The LPA for monsoon is calculated based on rainfall data during 1971 to 2020 which is 87 cm. The monsoon is expected to make onset over Kerala around June 4 with model error of +/-4 days, as forecast by IMD in mid- May, officials said.

“This is an El Nino year and during El Nino years we expect subdued rainfall over northwest India and central India and above normal rainfall over northeast India. But, during positive Indian Ocean Dipole years, which is expected during this monsoon, the impact of El Nino is compensated. So, considering that there is El Nino and positive IOD this year we are expecting that impact of El Nino over central India will be moderated by a positive IOD. But that may not happen in the case of northwest India,” said DS Pai, head, Environment Monitoring and Research Centre (EMRC), India Meteorological Department (IMD) during the briefing.

El Nino is characterised by an unusual warming of waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific, which has a high correlation with warmer summers, drought and weaker monsoon rains in India. IOD refers to the temperature differential between the western and eastern Indian Oceans. A positive IOD has a direct correlation with a good monsoon.

Below normal rainfall over northwest India is expected to impact agriculture over the region. There is a 50% probability of below normal rainfall over the region.

IMD has suggested that farmers in northwest India adjust to the pattern of the monsoon. Farmers time their sowing based on the monsoon.

Read: Monsoon to be below normal in northwest India: IMD

“We recommend that the (farmers in the) region plan sowing based on our forecasts. Our extended range forecast and short-range forecast will help them plan. We are also issuing advisories for farmers,” Pai added.

According to IMD’s spatial distribution forecast, normal to above normal rainfall is likely over the most areas of south peninsular India, some areas of east central India and many areas of northeast and extreme north India. However, normal to below normal rainfall is likely over many areas of northwest India and adjoining west central India, northern parts of the peninsular India and along the foothills of Himalayas.

Experts also said the agriculture ministry should prepare for El Nino’s impact on the farm sector. “There should be a proper plan on what crops are to be planted during kharif (monsoon) season and how sowing will be carried out. Monsoon onset may be late and the sowing period is often very small which can impact the farming community. There will be rainfall during monsoon but dry periods may be long. The agriculture ministry should prepare farmers for it,” said M Rajeevan, former secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

Above normal maximum and minimum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country in June, and only some areas of extreme north, northeast and some parts of the southern peninsula are expected to record normal to below normal temperatures, IMD said.

There is a nearly 100% probability of El Nino conditions during monsoon months and it is expected to continue till next year, IMD said.

The 2023 El Nino is expected to develop following a triple dip La Nina event (2020-22). La Nina is the opposite of El Nino and is characterised by cooler currents in the equatorial eastern Pacific.

Read: Deficient June rainfall may slowdown paddy sowing, say experts

According to the agriculture ministry, 51% of India’s farmed area, accounting for 40% of production, is rain-fed, making the monsoon critical. With 47% of the country’s population dependant on agriculture for their livelihood (according to this year’s Economic Survey), a bountiful monsoon has a direct correlation with a healthy rural economy. Deficient rainfall, especially in the food bowl states, can depress farm produce and rural spending, crimp production and fuel food inflation, besides wreaking havoc on harvest rates and farm jobs.

During the pre-monsoon season there was 12% excess rainfall over the country with 17% excess over northwest India; 34% deficiency over east and northeast India; 157% excess over central India and 47% over south peninsula. There were 11 heat wave days in March compared to average of 21.57 days; 40 in April compared to average of 68.79 days and 26 in May compared to average of 86.86 days during 2010 to 2022 period.

The southwest monsoon advanced into some parts of Southeast Bay of Bengal, Nicobar Islands and South Andaman Sea on May 19. Conditions are favourable of further advance of monsoon into some more parts of south Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and Andaman and Nicobar Islands during next 2 days, IMD said

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