27 May, 2023
India is likely to receive "normal" monsoon rains in 2023 despite the high probability of the emergence of El Nino weather phenomenon the mainland and the monsoon is likely to hit (Kerala) on June 4, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday during the second stage long range forecast for southwest monsoon.
Sticking to its earlier prediction, the nation's official weather forecaster said that rainfall during the June-September season is likely to be 96-104% of the long-term average, with an error margin of 4%.
IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 88 centimetres (35 inches) for the main rainy season.
El Niño is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. While it is associated with deficient rainfall during the monsoon months of June-September in India, IMD had earlier said that about 40% of El Niño years in the past (1951-2022) were years with normal or above-normal monsoon Rainfall.
The northern limit of southwest monsonsoon continues to pass through 5°N/85°E, 6.5°N/90°E, Nancowry, and 10°N/98°E," said that IMD adding that the conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some more parts of south Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands during next two days.
It has predicted below normal rainfall in northwest India - less than 92 percent of LPA - whereas normal rainfall has been predicted in north east India, central India and southern peninsular India.
Allaying fears of adverse impact on agriculture, IMD said that monsoon core zone which consist of most of the rainfed agriculture areas in the country will most likely see normal monsoon of 94-106% of LPA.
The southwest monsoon starts its journey into the Indian subcontinent from the Kerala coast typically around June 1. The monsoon is vital for India, providing about 70% of annual rain and impacting key crops.
Monsoon is key to the country's economic prosperity amid inflation fuelled by food prices. Adequate rains help boost crop output and lower food prices in India where most of the farmland is rain-fed.
However, while predicting the outlook for the month of June, the IMD said that the month is likely to witness below normal rainfall, below 92% of the normal average.
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