By admin       2018-04-17

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday forecast that the monsoon this year will be normal, with rainfall of 97 per cent of the long period average (LPA) with an error of plus or minus five per cent. If the forecast comes true, it will augur well for the country’s economy, as it will be the third successive normal monsoon year. The country had recorded a rainfall of 97 per cent in 2016 and 98 per cent last year during the season, which runs from June to September. The long period average for the season is calculated on the basis of the mean rainfall during the four-month monsoon season over the 50-year period from 1951-2010. It works out to an average of 89 cm for the country as a whole. Announcing the forecast, IMD Director General Dr. K.J. Ramesh said the forecast was based on both, a statistical ensemble forecasting system and a dynamic global climate forecasting system. The dynamic model has forecast a rainfall of 99 per cent, plus or minus a model error of five per cent, while the statistical model forecast is 97 per cent, plus or minus a model error of five per cent. The IMD will come out with an update in early June. At that point of time, apart from an updated forecast for the country as a whole and the season in its entirety, the Department will issue separate rainfall forecasts for the months of July and August for the country as a whole and season-wide rainfall for the four distinct geographical areas – North-West India, Southern Peninsula, North-East India and Central India. Dr. Ramesh also announced the category-wise forecast in terms of probabilities for normal (96% to 104%), above-normal (104% to 110%), excess (more than 110%), below-normal (90% to 96%) and deficient (less than 90%) rainfall. There was a 42 per cent probability of a normal rainfall, followed by 12 per cent above-normal, 30 per cent below-normal, two per cent excess, and 14 per cent deficient rainfall. “There is, thus, maximum probability of normal rainfall and low probability of deficient rainfall,” he said. Referring to various global and regional factors that influence the Indian monsoon, Dr. Ramesh said that the El Niño-La Niña factor is expected to be normal this year. A moderate La Niña condition had developed in the equatorial Pacific during last year. However, it started weakening in the early parts of this year and has currently turned into a weak La Niña condition. The latest forecasts from Indian and global models indicate that it will go away before the beginning of the season. With regard to the Indian Ocean Dipole phenomenon, which is the other important factor, he said that at present, neutral IOD conditions are prevailing and recent forecasts indicate that weak negative IOD conditions may develop during the middle of the monsoon season, and this has been factored into the overall forecast. The IMD would continuously monitor the situation, he said.

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