Climate Change

Only half a chance this monsoon will be normal

IMD releases first-stage Long Range Forecast of the 2019 South West monsoon rainfall

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 15 April 2019
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The probability of the South West monsoon this year being ‘Near Normal’ is 39 per cent, ‘Below Normal’ is 32 per cent and ‘Deficient’ is 17 per cent, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared while making its first stage Long Range Forecast (LRF) on APril 15, 2019. 

"The South West monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be near normal," the national weather forecaster said. 

It also suggested that the probability of there being an ‘Above Normal’ monsoon is 10 per cent and that of it being ‘Excess’ is two per cent.

Quantitatively, the monsoon seasonal (June-September) rainfall was likely to be 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5 per cent, said the IMD.

“Overall, the country is expected to have well distributed rainfall scenario during the 2019 monsoon season, which will be beneficial to farmers in the country during the ensuing Kharif season,” a statement by the IMD read.

“Weak El Nino conditions are likely to prevail during the monsoon season with reduced intensity in the later part of the season," it stated. The forecaster had already declared in a March 29, 2019 press release that “El Nino conditions are likely to persist in the early part of the summer season and likely to weaken thereafter.”

El Nino, which is the unusual warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, disrupts global wind patterns affecting climatic conditions in tropical areas like Africa, sub-tropical areas like India as well as the extra-tropical areas like North America. 

In India, there is a relationship between El Nino events and hotter than usual summers along with a decrease in rainfall during the monsoon. Most of the time, these events have also led to drought conditions.

In contrast to the IMD, weather agencies in other countries had declared weak El Nino conditions at the beginning of 2019. In January, Japan’s Meteorological Agency, which is also the Asian arm of the World Meteorological Organisation, said El Nino conditions were prevailing and that there was an 80 per cent chance of an El Nino phenomenon staying till spring season of 2019.

The Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) of the National Weather Service in the United States of America also concluded, around the same time, that weak El Nino conditions had formed in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. In a March 14, 2019 update, the CPC says that “weak El Nino conditions are likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2019 with an 80 per cent probability and summer with a 60 per cent probability”.

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