IMD forecasts normal Southwest monsoon this year

IMD forecasts normal Southwest monsoon this year

India's monsoon rainfall in 2017 will be close to its normal average amount, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today in its preliminary long-range forecast for the summer rainfall crucial for the country's crops and economy.

The IMD on Tuesday said there would be good distribution of rainfall across the country and it will receive 96 per cent of the long period average. He added that the normal rains will be good for the economy and agriculture and rains will be distributed fairly across the country. "Qualitatively, the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a normal error of plus-minus 5 per cent, and there was 38 per cent probability for near normal rainfall scenario, " he said. Almost two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people depend on agriculture for a living. The long period average refers to a 50-year average of 89 cm rainfall for the entire four-month season beginning June.

Monsoon rains deliver about 70 per cent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because almost half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.

India's southwest monsoon may be normal for a second year in 2017 as forecasters assess the likely impact of a possible El Nino. IMD makes its forecast on the basis of two sets of mathematical models. This announcement came as a relief after the country faced a severe heat wave in 2016, with more than 130 deaths recorded by the month of April.

IMD will update its forecast in the first week of June.

Ultimately, the Indian monsoon ended in September 2016 with three percent less than normal rains, Business Standard reported.

This year's forecast of 96 percent comes amid a continuing drought in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The actual rainfall, however, was only 97 per cent of LPA.

Distribution of rainfall is more important, said MK Dhanuka, managing director of Dhanuka Agritech Ltd.

An analysis of monsoon forecast (1st and 2nd stage) since 2008 indicates that IMD has only once increased its 2nd stage forecast (2014), else the forecast remained same or slightly less than the 1st.

According to the weatherman, below 90 per cent rainfall is considered deficient and at 95 per cent, it is considered below normal.

"A weak El Nino is likely to develop in the Pacific Ocean while the Indian Ocean Dipole is now positive".