India to have a normal monsoon? IMD says yes, private forecaster Skymet says no
Private weather forecaster, Skymet, on Monday predicted a below-average monsoon while India Meteorological Department says a normal monsoon is expected.
India Meteorological Department today forecast that the country will receive normal monsoon rains this year. Showers during the June-September rainy season is likely to be 96% of a long-term average, according to the official India Meteorological Department.
Hundreds of millions of farmers across India depend on the annual monsoon to nourish their fields. Bountiful rains may boost production of crops like rice, soybeans, corn and sugar cane, lowering food prices and aiding the government’s efforts to cool inflation.
“El Nino conditions likely to develop during monsoon season, impact maybe felt in second half," said IMD. All El Nino years not bad monsoon years, added nation’s official forecaster.
El Nino refers to a phase of warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The rains, which usually lash the southern tip of Kerala state around June 1 and retreat by September, are expected to total 96% of the long-term average this year, M. Ravichandran, secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), told a news conference.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines average, or normal, rainfall as ranging between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the four-month season.
Monsoon showers are vital for India’s agriculture sector which accounts for about 18% of the economy. Nearly half of India's farmland depend on annual June-September monsoon showers to grow crops. Farmers in India cultivate kharif or summer crops, which account for about 48-50% of India’s total agriculture basket, during the June-October monsoon period. Over this period, major crops such as paddy, cotton, maize, tur, soybean and groundnut are sown. India depends heavily on monsoon rainfall for agriculture production, which offers the highest employment to people.
Private weather forecaster, Skymet, on Monday predicted a below-average monsoon, saying the coming season is likely to bring only 94% of the rain the country usually gets from June to September.
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