Monsoon expected to be 15 % deficient this season

The country as a whole has received 378.8 mm rainfall as against the normal of 471.4 mm, a deficiency of 20 per cent.

New Delhi: India`s crucial monsoon is expected to be 15 per cent deficient this season, the weather office said today, the first indication of a drought in three years.

The country has received 20 per cent less rains than normal since the delayed onset of monsoon in June. Till yesterday, the country had received 378.8 mm rainfall against the normal of 471.4 mm.

"We expect monsoon to be 15 per cent deficient than the long period average (LPA) which is 89 cm," Laxman Singh Rathore, Director General, India
Meteorological Department (IMD), told reporters here.

A country-wide drought is declared when the monsoon rains are less than 90 per cent of the LPA

and at least 20 per cent area of the country experiences deficient showers of 25 per cent or more.

On the impact of failed monsoon on agriculture, Rathore said that paddy cultivation would not be affected but conditions were worrisome for production of coarse cereals.

However, monsoon in August is expected to be normal but a question mark looms over rainfall in September as El Nino conditions (warming of central Pacific Ocean) appear set to turn unfavourable for the country, IMD said in an update to the monsoon forecast.

"In August, we are hoping for a better rainfall scenario But there will be some problem in the terminal part of the monsoon," Rathore said.

He apprehended poor rainfall in September on account of the warming of the central Pacific Ocean, known as the El Nino phenomenon.

The central Pacific Ocean is expected to experience a warming of the sea surface temperature by 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Celsius.
In recent times, the country faced drought in 2009 and 2002.

In 2002, rainfall deficiency for June-September season was 19 per cent while in 1918 it was 28 per cent.

Since its delayed onset in June, south west monsoon has been 11 per cent deficient in the northeast, 36 per cent deficient in the northwest, 15 per cent deficient in central India and 24 per cent deficient in the southern peninsula.

The country as a whole has received 378.8 mm rainfall as against the normal of 471.4 mm, a deficiency of 20 per cent.

In terms of area covered, monsoon has been deficient or scanty in 63 per cent regions of the country and normal in 37 per cent region.

Officials said Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Marathwada and interior Karnataka would be areas of concern where deficient rainfall has been recorded.

Earlier this week, the government had rolled out contingency plans to tackle a drought-like situation faced by several states owing to a weak monsoon.

An IMD statement said El Nino conditions were building up in the equatorial Pacific with sea surface temperature (SST) ries of 0.5 degrees Celsius observed over much of the recent two weeks.

The latest forecasts from a majority of the dynamical and statistical models indicate strong possibility (with a probability of about 65%) for weak to moderate El Nino conditions to emerge in the next two months, it said.

"The El Nino conditions are likely to have adverse impact on the rainfall over the country during the second half of the monsoon season," the statement said.