NEW DELHI: Weather conditions were erratic in 2015, with the year recorded as the hottest witnessing a deficient monsoon due to El-Nino effect, drought-like situation in many parts of the country and severe floods in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan. "2015 was recorded as the hottest year," India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said.
The southwest monsoon hit the Kerala coast a tad late on June 5, four days after the official onset of rainy season in India. June saw 16 per cent excess rain. However, July witnessed a deficiency of 16 per cent. It further grew to 22 and 24 per cent for August and September respectively.
The overall monsoon clocked a 14 per cent deficiency, for a second consecutive year. The blame for weak monsoon was attributed to the El-Nino phenomenon.
The year also saw a competition of sort between IMD and private weather forecasting agency Skymet over monsoon forecast, with the former finally taking away the cake. The IMD since beginning had made a forecast of deficient monsoon, but Skymet had made a prediction of normal monsoon.
However, the agency, revised its earlier prediction and lowered its monsoon forecast from 102 per cent to 98 per cent even as it maintained that the country will receive "normal" rainfall during the year. Despite this the season registered a deficient rainfall. Incidentally, some regions in the country are facing a drought-like situation -- Eastern and Western Uttar Pradesh, which have recorded highest deficiency, and the arathwada region of Maharashtra. Thirty-one of 41 districts in East Uttar Pradesh are deficient while the remaining are scanty.While in West Uttar Pradesh three districts out of 30 got normal rainfall.
The number of deficient and scanty districts are 20 and 7 respectively. In Haryana, the overall rainfall deficiency registered is 37 per cent. The number of districts that got normal rains are two while deficient districts are 17 and scanty two. Likewise, the two sub-divisions of Maharashtra are deficient -- Central Maharashtra 33 per cent and Marathwada 39 per cent.
With the weak monsoon, the food grain production is also projected to drop by 1.78 per cent to 124.05 million tonnes in the 2015-16 kharif season. Food grain output was 126.31 million tonnes (MT) in the kharif (summer) season of the 2014-15 crop year (July-June).
On the other hand, several parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Assam registered excess rainfall and floods.
The October-December period is referred to as Northeast Monsoon season over peninsular India. It is a major period of rainfall activity over the southern peninsula, particularly Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The Northeast Monsoon was very active this year bringing excess rains and paralysing life in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Chennai witnessed highest rainfall in 100 years because of Northeast Monsoon.
Another interesting phenomenon this year due to El-Nino was suppressed activity of cyclones in Bay of Bengal. This year, the Arabian Sea saw two "extremely severely cyclones" while the Bay of Bengal witnessed none.
"When El-Nino phenomenon is stronger, the Bay of Bengal has a suppressed activity of cyclone formation. In a normal phase, Bay of Bengal witnesses four cyclones while the Arabian Sea sees one," Mritunjay Mohapatra, Head of the Cyclone Warning Divisons of the IMD, said.