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Monsoon likely to be normal in 2018: Skymet

‘Normal’ rainfall refers to India getting, within a 4 per cent error margin, 887 mm of rainfall during the monsoon season. However this doesn’t mean farmers can rest easy.

‘Normal’ rainfall refers to India getting, within a 4 per cent error margin, 887 mm of rainfall during the monsoon season. However this doesn’t mean farmers can rest easy.   | Photo Credit: The Hndu

The April forecasts by agencies don't capture the geographical spread of the monsoon rain.

Monsoon 2018 is likely to be ‘normal’ with ‘zero chance’ of a drought, according to private forecaster Skymet. “2018 is likely to remain normal at 100% (with an [model] error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September,” the organisation said in a statement on Wednesday.

‘Normal’ rainfall refers to India getting, within a 4% error margin, 887 mm of rainfall during the monsoon season.

However this doesn’t mean farmers can rest easy. While June was likely to receive excess rainfall, there is still, on average, a 30% chance that the key monsoon months of July and August would see rain that was ‘below normal’— or a greater than 10% deficit in their normal quotas. July and August bring in half the monsoon rains and are crucial for a good harvest. July is forecast to get 97% and August 96% of its quota.

The India Meteorological Department, the official forecaster, is expected to announce its forecast later this month though — in line with international weather models — it too has indicated that the chances of an El Nino during the monsoon are slim.

In a March bulletin, the agency ruled out the possibility of El Nino at least till August. The El Nino — an abnormal warming of the sea surface in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific — is usually associated with weak monsoons.

“Most models suggest that a turn towards El Nino conditions is likely towards August-end and September and by then the bulk of the monsoon would be over,” said Mahesh Palawat, Chief Forecaster, Skymet.

Pune meet

“There could however be monsoon deficits in the South Peninsula and the North East.”

Meteorologists from the IMD as well as from several South-East Asian countries are expected to convene in Pune later this month for a consensus statement on the monsoon.

The IMD comes up with its figures after running communication simulations based on climate conditions at the end of March and extrapolating them over the monsoon months. They also temper them based on the actual performance of monsoon in the past. “We are still in the process…however there’s global consensus across meteorological agencies that there’s no El Nino threat for most of the monsoon,” said K.J. Ramesh, IMD Director-General. He didn’t comment on Skymet’s results.

Last year, India got 95% of its normal monsoon quota. June and July got more than their usual quota while August and September saw significant deficits.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 8:29:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/monsoon-likely-to-be-normal-in-2018-skymet/article23431308.ece

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