Monsoon deficit reduced to near zero

Welcome showers: Students playing during a sudden spell of rain in New Delhi on Saturday.

Welcome showers: Students playing during a sudden spell of rain in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

However, country is unlikely to have surplus rain, metereologists say

In spite of heavy rains in August, which reduced the 2019 monsoon deficit to nearly zero, meteorologists say that India is unlikely to end the monsoon with surplus rain.

As of August 31, India received 300 mm of rain, 16% more than the 258 mm that’s typical for the month. Between June 1 and August 31, India got 709 mm of rainfall, a millimetre shy of the 710 mm that's normal for that period.

A surge of low pressure disturbances in the Bay of Bengal in July and August was responsible for the active monsoon.

Active monsoon

On July 31, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed that the country got 28.5 cm of rainfall in July, about 4% more than what was normal for the month. This reduced the seasonal deficit (calculated from June 1 to July 31) from 32.8% on June 30 to 9%, on July 31. As of August 31, that deficit is now down to 0.2%.

However, monsoon has begun to ebb from August 18 and will continue so until early September, according to Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Union earth sciences ministry. “A low-pressure system is likely to form around September 2. Overall, it looks like India will end up with normal monsoon rain,” he told The Hindu.

On August 1, the IMD said that August rains would be 99% of its normal and that monsoon rains during the “second half” (August and September) would be normal.

The bountiful rains in August were focussed on Central and Southern India, which at 418 and 286 mm was 40% and 55% above normal for the month.

El Nino effect

The above average monsoon activity was due to “increased activity” in the Indian Ocean. “The El Nino activity had subsided however we were also seeing an above normal activity in the Indian Ocean. Unlike the Pacific Ocean, the impact of the Indian Ocean isn't as well understood,” Mr. Rajeevan noted.

India gets about 17-18 cm of rainfall in September and they are unlikely to be above average because of a slight resurgence of El Nino-like conditions.

“Warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures are likely over some parts of central Pacific Ocean during August-November. This warming is likely to weaken in further seasons,” the IMD’s El Nino outlook of August warns.

The IMD maintains that India's rain would be “near normal” or 96% of the Long Period Average of 89 cm. This however didn’t account for the enhanced activity in August. “There's no change expected to that,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:23:50 PM |

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