New Delhi: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in its first forecast today said that the monsoon will be below normal this year and 93% of average rainfall is expected this season from June to September.
According to predictions, there is 33% probability that monsoon will be deficient. The IMD's predictions contradict that of independent weather forecaster Skymet, which last week predicted that the country will witness normal monsoon this year.
Reports suggest that IMD see a high probability of the occurrence of El Nino, a condition that can adversely affect the rains.
International agencies had earlier predicted that El Nino conditions will continue through summer and autumn saying the situation will adversely affect the monsoon.
The Australian Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology said that chances of El Nino occurring in 2015 have increased as ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific continue to be warmer than average.
An El Nino, abnormal heating up of east and central equatorial Pacific waters, causes change in wind patterns and also the Indian monsoon. However, in some El Nino years, such as 2006 and 1997, the monsoon was normal.
The monsoon, which supplies over 80% of India's annual rainfall, is crucial for the country's economy. It affects farm output thus affecting food inflation and overall economic growth of the country.