Monsoon still 3-4 days away from Kerala; conditions becoming positive: IMD
The southwest monsoon is set to get delayed by at least a week this year. Its average date of arrival in Kerala is June 1, with a standard deviation of about seven days. This year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had said in mid-May that it might arrive in Kerala by June 4. However, the monsoon has missed that date as well, and the IMD anticipates a further delay of three to four days.
The good news is that the conditions for its arrival are becoming favourable, according to the IMD. In a statement on Sunday (June 4), the weathermen said, “Conditions (are) becoming favourable with the increase in westerly winds over the south Arabian Sea. Also, the depth of westerly winds is gradually increasing and today, June 4, the depth of westerlies has reached up to 2.1 kilometres above the mean sea level.
“The cloud mass over the southeast Arabian sea is also increasing. We expect that these favourable conditions for monsoon onset over Kerala will further improve during the next three-four days. It is being monitored continuously and further updates will be provided tomorrow (Monday).”
Normal rainfall predicted
Scientists have, however, allayed fears that the delay might impact kharif sowing and total rainfall over the country. Despite the evolving El Nino conditions, India is expected to get normal rainfall during the southwest monsoon season, the IMD had said earlier.
El Nino, which is the warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean near South America, is generally associated with the weakening of monsoon winds and dry weather in India. Studies indicate a stronger inverse relationship between El Nino and rainfall during the second half of the monsoon season.
The El Nino conditions this year follow three consecutive La Nina years. La Nina, which is the opposite of El Nino, typically brings good rainfall during the monsoon season.
Last year, the southeast monsoon arrived in Kerala on May 29, on June 3 in 2021, on June 1 in 2020, June 8 in 2019, and May 29 in 2018.
Monsoon and agriculture
Normal rainfall is critical for India’s agricultural landscape, with 52 per cent of the net cultivated area relying on it. It is also crucial for the replenishing of reservoirs critical for drinking water apart from power generation across the country.
This year, Northwest India is expected to see normal to below normal rainfall. East and northeast, central, and south peninsula are expected to receive normal rainfall at 94-106 per cent of the long-period average of 87 centimetres.
According to the IMD, rainfall between 96 and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 87 cm is considered normal. Rainfall less than 90 per cent of the long-period average is considered deficient, between 90 per cent and 95 per cent is below normal, between 105 per cent and 110 per cent is above normal, and more than 100 per cent is excess precipitation.
Rainfed agriculture accounts for about 40 per cent of the country’s total food production, making it a crucial contributor to India’s food security and economic stability.
(With agency inputs)