Monsoon outlook: Anticipated slowdown expected after arrival in Kerala on June 4
The typical date for the monsoon to arrive in Kerala is June 1, but the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a slightly delayed onset, expected around June 4.
Monsoon progress is expected to face hindrances following its projected arrival in Kerala around June 4, with a margin of error of +/-4 days. This is attributed to the possibility of a low-pressure system forming over the Arabian Sea approximately two days later. While officials have acknowledged the existence of model outputs, they remain considerably variable.
The IMD official further noted, "So, we have to wait and watch and issue a warning soon. If it [the low-pressure areas] forms and intensifies, there are high chances of monsoon progress being impacted. We have not seen an indication of a strong monsoon/cross-equatorial flow yet. It may boost in the next couple of days following which favourable onset conditions may begin to develop over Kerala."
The monsoon's northern limit remained over the Bay of Bengal, while the monsoon line extended to encompass the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Conditions were favourable for further advance of the monsoon into parts of Maldives and Comorin, Southwest Bay of Bengal, Southeast Bay of Bengal, Central Bay of Bengal, and Northeast Bay of Bengal during the next two to three days, IMD said in its bulletin.
According to Mahesh Palawat, the Vice President (Climate and Meteorology) at Skymet Weather, the expected onset of the monsoon is around June 3 or 4. However, there is significant uncertainty surrounding its progression. “The low-pressure area is expected to develop over the Arabian Sea around June 6 or 7 and may intensify into a depression. There is no certainty that it will develop into a cyclone. Once it develops, all the moisture will be concentrated around the depression which will hamper the further progress of the monsoon."
He said there may be good rains on the west coast but monsoon may not touch interior areas till around June 10. “The cross-equatorial flow, a must for monsoon onset, is getting organised. We have to see when the wind direction changes to southwesterly and when monsoon onset can be declared but conditions are at the moment not very favourable for monsoon’s progress immediately."
There was a western disturbance present in northern Pakistan along with a cyclonic circulation over Punjab at lower levels of the atmosphere. Additionally, another western disturbance was observed over northeast Afghanistan at middle levels of the atmosphere, and it was expected to merge on June 1.
Moisture-rich air originating from the Arabian Sea and moving towards northwest India at middle levels of the atmosphere was causing thunderstorms and precipitation in various regions of northwest India.
Typically, western disturbances do not have a significant impact on the Indian region during the monsoon season, except during monsoon breaks when they may interact with other weather systems. “Western disturbances move to northern latitudes and a southwesterly wind pattern is established during monsoon season," said former earth sciences ministry secretary M Rajeevan.
As per the recent statement by the IMD, there is an almost certain probability of El Nino conditions persisting during the monsoon season and expected to continue into the following year. This El Nino event is projected to occur after a consecutive occurrence of La Nina from 2020 to 2022. La Nina, characterized by cooler oceanic currents in the equatorial eastern Pacific, is the opposite of El Nino.
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