October rain in southern India ‘sixth lowest’ since 1901

‘Historically, an El Nino year and positive IOD individually means normal rainfall over southern India in October. This year, however, their combined effect seems to have reduced rainfall,’ IMD Director General

Updated - November 01, 2023 07:23 am IST

Published - October 31, 2023 05:55 pm IST - New Delhi

Above-normal rainfall is likely over some areas of the southernmost parts of peninsular India, most parts of northwest India, and many parts of east-central, east and northeast India.

Above-normal rainfall is likely over some areas of the southernmost parts of peninsular India, most parts of northwest India, and many parts of east-central, east and northeast India. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The northeast monsoon, which replaced the southwest monsoon in October, and brings vital rain to several parts of southern India, has been the “sixth lowest” since 1901 so far, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General, M. Mohapatra said at a briefing on October 31.

Explained | How El Nino could impact the world’s weather in 2023-24

In September, the agency had forecast ‘normal’ rainfall for Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Kerala but October rainfall saw a 60% rainfall deficiency in these regions. The reason, Dr. Mohapatra said, was due to the prevailing El Nino and, paradoxically, a positive India Ocean Dipole (IOD). A positive IOD usually brings good rainfall. “Historically, an El Nino year and positive IOD individually means normal rainfall over southern India in October. This year, however their combined effect seems to have reduced rainfall,” he noted. While October rainfall in the region in 2016 was the lowest ever recorded since 1901 (5 cm), 2023’s has been the lowest since 1988.

Rainfall in November in these regions is likely to be ‘normal’, though this can mean anything from a 23% deficiency to 23% excess rain, given the inherent variability in November rainfall, he added.

The El Nino conditions are expected to get stronger and will continue to do so until March 2024. While current forecasts indicate it would weaken in time for next year’s monsoon, it would be “premature” to assume so, he added.

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‘Above normal’ maximum temperatures were likely over most parts of India during November except parts of northwest India and central India. Above normal ‘minimum temperatures’ were also likely in most parts of the country during the month, a press statement from the IMD noted.

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