The Indian economy could be in for more trouble in the coming days, with weather experts predicting below normal rainfall this year during the south-west monsoon across the country barring the north-east and the eastern parts.

The outlook came at the end of a two-day brain storming session, attended by a panel of national and international experts, organised under the aegis of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Called the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum [SASCOM], the panel included experts from the US’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, UK’s Met Office, the Japan Meteorological Agency, and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, apart from the WMO and the meteorological agencies of various south Asian countries.

The India Meteorological Department hosted the event.

“Below-normal rainfall is likely over broad areas of western, central and south western parts of South Asia and some areas in the northeastern-most parts of the region,” the experts said in a statement.

It was based on their analysis of the possible scenario for the entire south Asian region by assessing the prevailing global climate conditions and the forecasts from different climate models from around the world.

A map released along with the consensus statement shows that there is a 45 per cent possibility of rainfall being below normal for peninsular India and 40 per cent for central and north-west India.

El Nino phenomenon

The experts have come to their conclusion based on indications that there was a strong possibility of the development of El Nino phenomenon this year.

The El Nino condition, which is known to weaken the south Asian monsoon circulation and adversely impact rainfall over the region, develops when the waters in the equatorial pacific region becomes warmer than normal.

During February through early parts of March, the conditions in the region were on the borderline of La Nina, the opposite of El Nino, when the waters are cooler than normal.

But, a subsequent warming trend over the region through the middle of the current month has caused the conditions to become warm-neutral and forecasts from almost all prediction models indicate that the warming trend could continue leading to the development of El Nino during the monsoon season.

IMD forecast today

“There is strong consensus among the experts about the possibility of evolution of an El Nino event during the summer monsoon season,” the statement noted.

When asked about the outlook, the Director General of IMD would only say that the outlook was for the south Asia region as a whole.

“We will come out with our forecast for the country tomorrow [Thursday].”

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