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IMD predicts normal to above normal rainfall this monsoon

Above-normal rainfall is expected this monsoon season across India, providing relief from the ongoing heatwave. The IMD) forecasts 106% of the long-period average rainfall, with central and southern peninsular regions expecting above-normal

By Ground report
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IMD predicts normal to above normal rainfall this monsoon

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Above-normal rainfall is expected this monsoon season across the country, providing a respite from the ongoing heatwave, said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the chief of the India Meteorological Department, at a media briefing today.

"The southwest monsoon rainfall over the country is likely to be 106% of the long-period average with a model error of 4%, indicating above-normal rainfall. "Expect below-normal monsoon in India, normal in the northwest, and above-normal in central and southern peninsular regions," Mohapatra said at a virtual press conference.

IMD previously projected above-normal rainfall for the four-month monsoon season, estimating cumulative rainfall at 106% of the long-period average of 87 cm.

"India's monsoon core zone, comprising most rain-fed agriculture areas, is likely to receive above-normal rainfall (more than 106% of the long-period average)," Mohapatra confirmed. This zone includes Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, where agriculture primarily depends on rainfall.

IMD forecasts normal rainfall in June, between 92-108% of the long-period average of 166.9 mm. "Except for some parts of southern peninsular India, normal to above-normal maximum temperatures are expected," Mohapatra said. He also indicated favourable conditions for the monsoon to onset over Kerala within the next five days.

Above-normal monsoon rainfall forecast is a relief, as the heat strained power grids and triggered drought-like conditions. However, normal rainfall doesn't ensure uniform distribution, with climate change increasing rain system variability.

Climate scientists note a decrease in rainy days and an increase in heavy rain events, leading to frequent droughts and floods. The monsoon is crucial for India's agriculture, with 52% of the cultivated area relying on it. It also replenishes reservoirs for drinking water and power generation.

The Central Water Commission reported that water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India dropped to 24% of their live storage last week, exacerbating water shortages and affecting hydropower generation.

June and July are critical monsoon months for agriculture, as most Kharif crop sowing occurs during this period. Scientists also pointed out El Nino conditions are prevailing, with La Nina expected by August-September.

El Niño warms the central Pacific Ocean, weakening monsoon winds and drying India. La Niña brings heavy monsoon rainfall.

Historical data from 1951-2023 shows that India had above-normal rainfall in the monsoon season on all nine occasions when La Niña followed an El Niño event. The country had above-normal or normal monsoons in 20 out of the 22 La Niña years.

The IMD predicts a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which could bring rain to southern states. The neutral IOD is expected to turn positive by August. Below-normal snow cover in the northern hemisphere and Eurasia, historically linked to the monsoon, is another factor.

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