India records 32% deficit in rain in 15 days of monsoon | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India records 32% deficit in rain in 15 days of monsoon

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
Jun 17, 2022 12:05 AM IST

There is a deficiency of 36% in rainfall over the southern peninsula, 65% over central India, 77% over northwest India and 14% excess over east and northeast India

India has recorded a 32% deficit in monsoon rainfall in the first fortnight of the season that began on June 1, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has revealed. The eastern arm of the monsoon is delayed by three-four days, while the western arm has advanced at its normal pace, data show. However, there is significant deficiency in rainfall even over regions where monsoon has already arrived.

A man hydrates himself on a sultry summer day in northern India. (ANI Photo)
A man hydrates himself on a sultry summer day in northern India. (ANI Photo)

There is a deficiency of 36% in rainfall over the southern peninsula, 65% over central India, and 77% over northwest India. Only in east and northeast India is there an excess -- of 14%. Among states, Kerala has a 59% rain deficiency, Karnataka 34%, and Telangana 23%.

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And even in the northeast, some states have not received their normal quota of rains -- highlighting the trend of regional and sub-regional variation in monsoon rainfall that increases the challenge for farmers.

Over northeast India, for instance, Manipur has a 50% deficit, Mizoram 46% and Tripura 38%. Among northwestern states where monsoon hasn’t arrived yet, pre-monsoon activity has been missing. For example, Delhi has a 92% rain deficiency, Haryana 92% and Uttar Pradesh 96%.

“Monsoon rain over the past 15 days has been less than normal, but many areas covered by monsoon, particularly parts of southern peninsula, northeastern states, Sikkim and West Bengal, recorded very good rains. Now rain is picking up, deficiency has reduced from 43% on June 11 to 32% yesterday. So, the deficiency will be gradually compensated. If rainfall picks up as expected in the next 15 days, agriculture will not be impacted,” said M Mohapatra, director general of IMD.

The numbers referred to are national aggregates.

“La Nina conditions will last till the end of the season, which will support a good monsoon. But, the projected negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) can be a spoiler. The effect of negative IOD will be compensated by La Nina, so we can expect normal rains as forecast by us around 103% of long period average,” Mohapatra added.

The ongoing La Nina, which has affected temperatures and rainfall patterns, and exacerbated drought and flooding globally, is likely to continue till at least August and probably even into 2023, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last week.

La Nina refers to the large-scale cooling of surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, coupled with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation (winds), pressure and rainfall. It occurs every two to seven years.

In India, La Nina is associated with strong monsoon and above average rainfall, and colder winters. IOD is the difference between the temperature of the ocean in two parts — in the Arabian Sea on the west and the Bay of Bengal in the east. A neutral IOD doesn’t affect the monsoon, but a negative one is bad news.

“Monsoon in the first 15 days has been slow and weak. Northwest India has largely remained dry. It has rained over northeast and peninsular India. In the next four or five days there is going to be good rainfall over east, central and northwest India. Pre-monsoon rains will begin over Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh from Thursday. Easterly winds have set in over the region, which will bring dust storm and thunderstorms. There is also a western disturbance which is affecting the western Himalayan region and bring rain,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president of climate change and meteorology at private forecaster Skymet Weather.

The monsoon rains are critical to agriculture, with almost 60% of India’s agricultural land being rain-fed. By extension, it is also critical to the rural economy. This year, in addition, a good monsoon is even more important given the inflationary trend in food prices, nationally as well as globally.

The southwest monsoon arrived in Kerala on May 29, three days ahead of its usual schedule of June 1. Several independent experts criticised the Met department saying it may have shown haste in announcing the arrival as the rainfall criterion for the onset of monsoon remained unmet on May 29.

Monsoon rainfall during the next four months (June to September) is likely to be “normal” at 103% of Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of +/-4%, IMD said, while presenting its second stage long range forecast released on May 31. IMD had earlier during its first stage LRF issued in April forecast that monsoon rainfall is likely to be 99% of LPA.

If IMD’s forecast is met, this will be the fourth consecutive year that monsoon rain will be in the “normal” or “above normal” category. Last year, monsoon was 99% of LPA (normal); in 2020, monsoon was 109% of LPA (above normal); in 2019 monsoon was 110% of LPA (above normal).

On Thursday, IMD said monsoon further advanced into some more parts of North Arabian Sea, Gujarat, entire central Maharashtra and Marathwada region, some parts of south Madhya Pradesh, most parts of Vidarbha, entire Telangana, some parts of south Chhattisgarh, and south Odisha, most parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh, some more parts of west-central and northwest Bay of Bengal.

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