Predictions of a normal monsoon and its onset in due course may delight farmers and policy makers in India, with prospects for exceptional agricultural production diminishing the serious impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
The meteorological office maintained its forecast for April in a normal monsoon on Monday and announced that the meteorological phenomenon, which watered more than half of the agricultural lands of India, had reached the south of the state of Kerala on the 1st June, according to the usual calendar of the annual event.
The monsoon, which shapes the lives of millions of people and affects food prices, is essential for agriculture because it directly irrigates the fields and fills the reservoirs that help crops planted in winter. It is more important this year as millions of people have lost their livelihoods due to the strict stay-at-home rules imposed to stem the coronavirus. India is headed for its first full year decline in GDP in over four decades, and the rural economy accounts for around 45% of GDP.
“A normal monsoon is a good mitigating factor for the huge headwinds India faces, but it will not necessarily change the course of the Indian economy,” said Rahul Bajoria, senior economist at Barclays Bank Plc. “A good monsoon should have a calming effect on food prices. We are not worried about inflation per se.”
The rains during the rainy season from June to September will represent 102% of the long-term average of 88 centimeters, Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said on Monday. The forecast has a margin of error of 4% and compares to the April forecast of 100% of average precipitation over 50 years. The timely start will stimulate the planting of crops such as rice, cotton and corn.
“If you stick to that prediction, it means a good harvest,” said Prerana Desai, research manager at Edelweiss Agri Value Chain Ltd.
About 60% to 90% of annual precipitation occurs during the monsoon period in different states, except the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which receives only about 35% of its rainy season precipitation . Farmers generally wait for the monsoon to arrive before planting crops such as rice, corn, pulses, cotton and sugar cane. Any lack of showers early in the season could delay planting and affect yields, even if the rains accelerate later.
The probability of a normal monsoon this year is 41%, said the Indian Meteorological Department. The risk of below normal showers is 15%, while there is a possibility of 5% of insufficient rain, said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the weather department.
Currently, neutral ENSO conditions prevail over the Pacific Ocean, he said. Weather phenomena refer to the absence of El Nino or La Nina. The latest forecast indicates that neutral ENSO conditions are expected to continue for most of the four-month monsoon season.
Forecasts indicate that there is a probability that weak La Nina conditions will develop over the Pacific Ocean during the second half of the rainy season. Conditions for an Indian Ocean dipole, which is similar to El Nino, are neutral at the moment and this is expected to continue during the four-month monsoon.
The weather pattern of El Nino, which creates an abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean, tends to reduce precipitation during the monsoons of India. The Nina generally brings more rain to parts of Asia, including India. Positive dipole conditions in the Indian Ocean are favorable for normal or above normal rains.
Current and forecast sea surface temperatures in the Pacific and Indian Oceans are favorable for a normal rainy season, the weather bureau said.
According to a dynamic weather model, which is currently experimental, the rain during the monsoon will probably be above normal at 107% of the long-term average. The forecast has a margin of error of 4%, according to the press release. Last year’s monsoon precipitation was 10% above normal, the highest since 1994. This helped boost crops, with India’s food grain production reaching a record in 2019-2020 .
– With the help of Shruti Srivastava and James Poole.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)