DC Edit | Monsoon bounty ahead

The expectation of an above-normal monsoon this year, as expressed by the Indian meteorological department, comes like music to the ears. April is that time of the year when the Met puts out its early forecast, which would regularly be one of the “normal monsoon ahead” kind of prognostication, perhaps only to be imagined from an arm of the State that would not like to be pessimistic even if the outlook by data is not all that bright.

This is one year, after more than a decade, in which the IMD is venturing to make a “better than normal” forecast because historical data dating back to 1951 suggests that India experienced above-normal rainfall on nine occasions when La Nina followed an El Nino event. Indeed, the law of averages would support such an assumption.

The IMD may have been a tad optimistic last year when its forecast proved less accurate than that of the private weather service SkyMet, which had cautioned us to expect a less than bountiful rainfall year, which is exactly what happened.

Except for pockets like Chennai and a few southern districts that saw extraordinary rainfall events in December 2023, the monsoon for the nation was less than normal, and severely deficient in states like Karnataka and weak in Kerala.

A weakening El Nino, to be replaced by a La Nina event that has been historically associated with a good monsoon is likely to develop during the second half this year, is the basis on which the forecast sounds so good.

With the SkyMet forecast too being sanguine about normal rainfall, at 102 per cent of the long period average of 886 mm for June-Sept. as compared to IMD’s 106 per cent, it does appear that farmers can be a bit ginger in their step this season even as the sun scorches in the summer. The IMD forecast does come with the rider that some parts of the northwest, east and the northeastern parts of the country should not expect the same bountiful rain.

As the fastest growing major economy in the world — GDP grew at 7.8 per cent in Q1 2024 as compared to China’s 5.3 per cent — India has reason to anticipate a monsoon of plenty that may lead to greater rural income and higher spending, besides bettering the lot of the grower. None would grudge them their good fortune if the rain upholds the Met men’s optimism.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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