New Delhi: Government-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) is all set to to issue its first long range forecast for the south-west monsoon, on Monday.
The south-west monsoon which makes its onset over India around May end, is critical for India’s more than 100 million farmers and their dependents, as the four month rainy season accounts for over 70% of the country’s annual showers.
The forecast is crucial, considering it would also highlight if the global ocean phenomenon called El Nino could affect India's prospects of a good monsoon. According to latest global forecasts, weak El Nino conditions are likely to persist in the summer months. The phenomenon is associated with below normal monsoon rains and droughts.
After facing droughts in 2014 and 2015, mainly because of El Nino, the monsoon had improved in 2016 and India received normal rainfall in the four months from June to September.
However, the rainfall hovered at near-normal levels in 2017 and dropped to 91% of LPA which was below normal last year. The stakes are high, as large parts of India including states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are reeling under farm distress.
In its early forecast, Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency has predicted that the monsoon could have a sluggish start this year due to El Nino and there is a higher probability that it would be below normal in the first two months of June and July.
The first IMD forecast would be followed by a second long range forecast in May, which would include predictions for each of the meteorological sub-divisions.