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IMD upgrades its monsoon forecast to 98% of long period average

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-06-2017 Sayantan Bera

New Delhi: Rainfall during the June to September south-west monsoon season will be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday, confirming its first forecast issued in April.

According to the latest update, monsoon rainfall will likely be 98% of the long period or 50 year average (LPA) for the entire country, more than the 96% estimated by IMD in April.

Furthermore, the south-west monsoon will be fairly distributed across the country, IMD director K.J. Ramesh said, adding that while central India is likely to receive 100% of normal rains, peninsular India will likely receive 99% of normal rains. North-west and north-east India are expected to receive 96% of the normal rains.

IMD said rainfall during July and August will likely be 96% and 99% of the long period average, respectively.

We have ruled out the possibility of any strong El Nino developing during the later half of the monsoon, Ramesh said, adding “in view of the positive development we have upgraded the monsoon forecast from 96% to 98%”.

His reference was to a weather phenomenon that causes warmer oceans in the equatorial Pacific region that is normally associated with a poor monsoon.

IMD’s forecast of 98% rainfall comes with a model error of 4% (on either side). Monsoon is considered to be normal when total rainfall is between 96% and 104% of the LPA.

On 30 May, the monsoon hit the Kerala coast, two days before its usual onset date. The normal date for the arrival of the south-west monsoon is 1 June. After making a landfall in Kerala, it advances to other parts of the country over June.

The onset of monsoon kicks off the sowing season for summer crops in the country. India receives 70% of its annual rainfall during this period, which irrigates over half of its rain-fed crop lands.

In 2016, the monsoon was normal at 97% of LPA after consecutive years of deficit. The normal monsoon last year aided a rebound in agriculture growth to 4.9% (2016-17) after a dismal 0.7% growth and 0.2% contraction seen in 2015-16 and 2014-15, respectively.

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