NEW DELHI: The country is expected to receive above-average rainfall this monsoon with most regions, with the exception of Tamil Nadu and the northeast, likely to receive good rainfall this year, according to a prediction by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). This may come as a huge relief for the Centre and State governments alike after two consecutive years of drought.
“The monsoon will be 106 per cent of the long-period average (LPA) and there is a 94 per cent probability that it would be normal to excessive this year,” said IMD director general Laxman Singh Rathore.
“By and large, there will be fair distribution of monsoon across the country. But North-East India and South-East India, particularly Tamil Nadu and Rayalaseema, may get slightly less than normal rainfall,” said Rathore.
He further stated that the onset of monsoon over Kerala is expected to take place on time by June 1 and there will be no delay in its spread across the country.
IMD scientist D S Pai said El Niño conditions are “weakening”, a phenomena that not only affected the monsoon last year, but also resulted in warmer winters.
“The latest forecast from the Monsoon Mission Coupled Climate Model indicates El Niño conditions would weaken to moderate to weak levels during the first half of the monsoon season and neutral conditions are likely to get established thereafter,” Pai said.
Agriculture, which contributes 15 per cent to India’s GDP and employs about 60 per cent of the population, is heavily dependent on the monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Due to poor monsoon in the 2015-16 crop year (June-July), as many as 10 states have declared drought and the Centre has sanctioned relief package of about `10,000 crore to help the farmers cope.
‘La niña’ may come calling
There is a good possibility of ‘La Niña’ formation during August-September. La Niña (Little girl) comes with cooling of the water in the equatorial Pacific, and is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns complementary to those of El Niño, which relates to the warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific.