A day after the meteorological service came under heavy criticism for its forecast for the onset of the monsoon this year, India’s Meteorological Department (IMD) clarified on Tuesday that the monsoon rains over the next four months (June to September) are probable. be “normal” at 103% of the long-run average (LPA), with a model error of +/- 4%. IMD made the observations when presenting its second stage long-range forecast (LRF) for the monsoon on Tuesday.
“Seasonal southwest monsoon rainfall over the central monsoon zone, which includes most rainfed agricultural regions, is most likely above normal (>106% LPA),” according to the IMD.
A controversy has erupted over India’s Department of Meteorology (IMD) declaring the start of the southwest monsoon on Sunday May 29, with senior government officials questioning whether the standards set for such a declaration have been met.
Addressing a press conference, IMD Director General Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the average rainfall this monsoon season is expected to be 103% of the long-term average. “Normal or above normal rainfall is very likely over many parts of northwestern and central India, northern southern peninsula and parts of eastern India. Below normal rainfall is very likely in many parts of northeast India, some pockets of central and eastern India and southern parts of the southern peninsula of India,” did he declare.
The central monsoon zone – states from Gujarat to Odisha that depend on rainfall for agriculture – are expected to see above-normal rainfall at more than 106 percent of the long-term average, Mohapatra said.
If achieved, 2022 could become the fourth consecutive year that India will receive normal monsoon rainfall. Indeed, it has been upgraded from 99%, as previously reported by IMD in the first LRF stage released in April this year. Starting this year, the IMD follows the derated seasonal LPA value of 87 cm.
Previously, India experienced a normal monsoon of 2005-08 and 2010-13. Mohapatra said that in the near future, India may witness normal monsoons as the decade-long epoch of below-normal rains comes to an end.
Asked about the criticism IMD has faced for ‘hastily’ declaring the onset of the monsoon over Kerala, Mohapatra said the meteorological office followed a scientific process to announce the onset and progress of the monsoon. . He claimed that 70% of weather stations in Kerala reported fairly extensive rainfall and other parameters related to strong westerly winds and cloud formation over the region were met.
Mohapatra said the prevailing La Nina conditions, which refer to the cooling of the equatorial Pacific region, are expected to continue through August and bode well for monsoon rains in India.
However, the possibility of development of an Indian Ocean negative dipole, which refers to colder than normal sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, could result in below-average rainfall. normal in the extreme south-west of the peninsula which includes Kerala.