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IMD predicts above normal rain in the country this monsoon

The above normal rainfall is predicted for core monsoon zone which comprises states primarily dependent on precipitation for their irrigational needs. On the other hand, below-normal monsoon rainfall is expected in northeast India, normal in northwest India.

Edited By: Shubham Bajpai New Delhi Published on: May 27, 2024 19:01 IST
Representative Image
Image Source : PTI Representative Image

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday announced that the core monsoon zone, which encompasses the majority of rain-fed agricultural regions in the country, is forecasted to experience above-average rainfall this season.

The states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal form the country's core monsoon zone where agriculture is primarily rain-fed.

"India's monsoon core zone comprising most of the rain-fed agriculture areas are likely to receive above-normal rainfall (more than 106 per cent of the long period average)," Director General of IMD Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

Below normal monsoon in Northeast India

Mohapatra said that below-normal monsoon rainfall is expected in northeast India, normal in northwest, and above-normal in central and south peninsular regions of the country. The IMD director general said the country is likely to experience normal rainfall (92-108 per cent of the long period average of 166.9 mm) in June.

"Barring a few parts of southern peninsular India, normal to above-normal maximum temperatures are expected in the country in June," he said, adding that conditions are favourable for monsoon onset over Kerala in the next five days.

The prediction comes as a huge relief as the crippling heat is testing power grids and triggering drought-like conditions in parts of the country.

Climate change and variable rainfall across country

It must also be noted that normal cumulative rainfall does not guarantee uniform temporal and spatial distribution of rain across the country. Climate change is increasing the variability of the rain-bearing system.

As per climate scientists, the count of rainy days is declining while heavy rain events (more rain over a short period) are increasing, leading to frequent droughts and floods across the country.

Essentially, the monsoon is critical for India's agricultural landscape as 52 per cent of the net cultivated area relies on it. June and July are considered the most important monsoon months for agriculture because most of the Kharif crop sowing takes place during these months.

Decreasing live storage in water reservoirs

Additionally, monsoon is significant for replenishing reservoirs which are in turn critical for drinking water, apart from power generation across the country.

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India dropped to just 24 per cent of their live storage last week, exacerbating water shortages in many states while significantly affecting hydropower generation.

El Nino and La Nina effect

El Nino conditions are prevailing at present, and La Nina may set in by August-September, scientists say.

While El Nino -- periodic warming of surface waters in the central Pacific Ocean -- is associated with weaker monsoon winds and drier conditions in India, La Nina -- the antithesis of El Nino -- leads to plentiful rainfall during the monsoon.

During 1951-2023, India experienced above-normal rainfall in the monsoon season on all nine occasions when La Nina followed an El Nino event.

The IMD is also anticipating the development of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) by August which is so far neutral. Positive IOD means cooler-than-normal Indian Ocean in the east compared to the west which helps bring rain to several states in southern India. 

(With PTI Inputs)

ALSO READ | Understanding the onset of Southwest Monsoon in India

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