The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted normal rainfall for July, following reasonably good rainfall in June.
A late surge in rainfall made up for a significant deficiency in the first half of the month. Concerns about a poor monsoon due to the developing El Nino in the Pacific Ocean have not materialized.
Rainfall is considered normal if it ranges between 94 and 106 per cent of the long-period average. The IMD's statement indicates that it anticipates July's rainfall to be between 100 and 106 per cent of the long-period average.
The developing El Nino was suspected to impact India's monsoon rainfall, but the IMD's outlook suggests that July rainfall in India is unlikely to be affected.
Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the director general of IMD, stated that the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which are relevant for India's monsoon, have experienced a warming of about 1 degree Celsius. But this warming happened only recently.
“The Oceanic Nino Index (ONI, one of the key measures of the warming in the Pacific Ocean) has to show warming of at least 0.5 degree Celsius for three consecutive months."
"This three-month average was less than 0.5 degree Celsius for June. So, in a way, there was no El Nino in June, even though the Pacific waters are currently 1 degree Celsius warmer than usual."
"But, in July, this three-month average is expected to cross the 0.5 degree Celsius threshold. So, there will be a mild El Nino in July. But our forecast shows that the July rainfall over India would be normal", Mohapatra said.
The IMD had earlier forecast an 8 per cent deficiency for the month of June. However, after a late onset and slow progress, the rainfall deficit over the country as a whole reached as high as 50 per cent by the middle of the month. June ended with a 10 per cent deficit, which is quite close to the IMD's prediction.
However, the rainfall has not been uniform.
Kerala ended the month with a deficit of 60 per cent, while Karnataka had a 53 per cent deficiency. Among the four broad geographical areas, only northwest India recorded rainfall of more than 100 per cent.
The Southern Peninsula had a deficit of 45 per cent, while the East and Northeast region saw a shortfall of 18 per cent. Central India had near normal rainfall with a 6 per cent deficiency.
The IMD predicts that the monsoon will be active throughout the month of July in one or the other part of the country. The ongoing spell of rainfall in the northern, eastern, and western parts of the country is likely to continue for one more week.
In the second week, rainfall is expected to subside in the north and east, but pick up in the southern peninsula, with Karnataka expected to receive very good rainfall. After that, the central Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra are expected to receive good rainfall.
The western part of the country, especially the coastal regions, can expect rainfall throughout the month, according to the IMD's predictions.
IMD has also provided statistical evidence to support the likelihood of good rainfall in July. Since 1950, there have been 25 years with below-normal June rainfall, indicating a deficit of 8 per cent or more. In 16 out of those 25 years, July rainfall turned out to be normal.
Among these instances, three occurred during an El Nino event. The most recent example was in 2019, which was not an El Nino year. In that year, June experienced a deficit of 31 per cent, but July witnessed a rainfall of 106 per cent.
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