Timely monsoon rains are critical for India’s economy and food supply a time when the country is battling soaring prices.
Monsoon | southwest monsoon | Kerala
Southwest monsoon is expected to be over the Kerala coast on May 27: four days ahead of normal and the quickest since 2017, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday, giving hope to millions of Indians suffering in the heat.
The IMD’s forecast is with a model error of plus and minus four days. Private weather forecasting agency, Skymet, too, said that the rains will reach the Indian mainland on May 26th. Skymet’s prediction has a model error of plus and minus three days.
Timely monsoon are a good sign, but it does not guarantee a strong progress across the country. If rains arrive on time in agriculture states of Central, North and West India, it could spur sowing of kharif crops. Acreage this year in these states is expected to be good due to remunerative return to farmers in the just concluded rabi harvest.
Farm production depends not only on the quantum of total rains, but the timeliness and geographical spread of the monsoon.
Skymet has said that monsoon in the first half of the 2022 season (June and July months) is expected to be much better than the second half. This could have a serious impact on the final harvest of crops because July and August are the most important months in terms of total quantum of rains in the four-month southwest monsoon season.
Last month, the IMD predicted that the southwest monsoon over the country as a whole in 2022 is expected to be ‘normal’ at 99 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA).
The LPA for the June to September months has now been revised at 87 centimeters based on data collected between 1971-2020.
Earlier the LPA was 88.1 centimeters based on data collected between 1961 to 2010.
The forecast is with a model error of plus and minus 5 percent. Monsoon between 96-104 per cent of the LPA is considered to be ‘normal’.
Skymet had said that the southwest monsoon in 2022 was expected to be ‘normal’ at 98 percent of the Long Period Average (LPA). Skymet’s forecast too is with an error margin of plus and minus 5 percent.
The IMD, in a press statement, said that La Niña conditions are prevailing over the equatorial Pacific region and latest climate models indicate that the same might prevail during the monsoon months of June to September as well.
It said presently, neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are present over the Indian Ocean and the latest forecasts indicate that the neutral IOD conditions are likely to continue until the beginning of southwest monsoon season.
“Thereafter, enhanced probability for negative IOD conditions is predicted,” the IMD said.
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