INDIAN METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT SOUNDS ALERT
After four years of normal and above normal monsoon, India is expected to have below normal Monsoon this year with rainfall projected to be 95 per cent, a news which is disappointing for the farming community. Officials in the weather department said the monsoon is expected to be below normal because of the El-Nino effect, which is generally associated with the warming of ocean water. "The monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 95 per cent of the Long Period average with an error of plus or minus 5 percent," the Meterological Department said in a statement here.
El Nino refers to the warmer-than-average sea surface temperature in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. This condition occurs every 4-12 years and had last impacted India's monsoon in 2009, leading to the worst drought in almost four decades. The rainfall between 90-96 percent is catergorised as below normal and rainfall between 96-104 per cent is termed as normal rainfall.
The forecast for 2014 comes after the country witnessed four straight years of normal monsoon and bumper harvest. Last year, the Met department had forecast 98 per cent rainfall but it exceeded and the country received over 106 per cent rainfall. Monsoon is crucial for agriculture, particularly the kharif crops such as rice, soyabean, cotton and maize because almost 60 per cent of the farm land in the country is rainfed. "Latest forecast from a majority of the models also indicate warming trend in the sea surface temperature over the equatorial Pacific reaching to El-Nino level during the South-west monsoon with a probablity of around 60 per cent," the IMD said. With the Model Code of Conduct in place, the MET department did not hold the customary press conference, but instead posted the monsoon-related information on its website.