The southwest monsoon 2022 will likely be “normal”, though rainfall in August, the second rainiest month, will likely be subdued, private weather company Skymet has said.
“Normal”, according to Skymet, is 98% of the historical average of 88 cm for the four-month stretch from June-September. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are likely to be rain deficit throughout the season. Northeastern States have a high base-level of rainfall.
In the South, Kerala and north interior Karnataka would see subdued rainfall in the core monsoon months of July and August. On the other hand, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh — key kharif crop regions — and rainfed areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh would witness “above normal”’ rainfall, the agency stated.
The El Nino, characterised by a warming of temperatures in the Central Pacific and associated with drying up rainfall over India, wasn’t expected to surface this year. Its converse, or a La Nina, had helped with two years of above normal rainfall in 2019, 2020 and “normal” rain in 2021.
“The last two monsoon seasons have been driven by back-to-back La Nina events...the occurrence of El Nino, which normally corrupts the monsoon, is ruled out,” Yogesh Patil, CEO, Skymet, said. However, there would be bursts of intense rainfall, followed by long dry intervals, he added.
Indian Ocean dipole
Another factor that influences monsoon was the Indian Ocean dipole, whose “positive” phase corresponded to good rains and “negative” the opposite. “The Indian Ocean Dipole is neutral, albeit having a propensity of negative inclination... Monsoon will have to ride over ENSO — neutral conditions, while battling resistance from IOD, especially during the 2nd half of the season. This possibly can lead to extreme variability in the monthly rainfall distribution,” the agency said.
The first half of the monsoon — June and July — was expected to be better than the second. June was expected to get 7% more rain than what’s usual, July 100%, August 95% and September, when the monsoon starts to wane, 90%. The last few years, however, have seen unusually high rains in September.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which issues the official forecast, is expected to announce its first forecast for the season later this week. The agency follows a multiple-stage forecast system with an update in June.