Met dept signs off Southwest Monsoon

Written by Commodities Bureau | New Delhi , Oct 1 | Updated: Oct 3 2008, 04:59am hrs
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday officially signed off the Southwest Monsoon which is critical to the countrys agricultural output and the economy at large, as near normal with the rainfall from June 1 to September 30 being 98% of its Long Period Average (LPA).

The average volume of rainfall across the country was 873 mm, with parts of Rajasthan recording as low as 500 mm while Tamil Nadu saw the highest rainfall around 3,000 mm.

The long range forecast for the seasonal rainfall across the country has been accurate, the IMD claimed. Yet, it admitted that the seasonal rainfall over Northwest India and rainfall during July for the whole country could not be predicted accurately. Although it was a well distributed monsoon, our prediction overestimated the rainfall during July, Ajit Tyagi, director general, IMD said.

In its forecast issued on April 16 and June 30, the IMD had stated that the rainfall would be around 99% and 100% of LPA during June - September. The actual rainfall was close to the prediction at 98% of LPA in June, but in July, the rainfall was only 83% of LPA.

According to the first estimates of agricultural output released by the ministry of agriculture last week, the rain trends in July may hit the sowing of coarse cereals like jowar, bajra, maize and oilseeds like groundnut. The area under arhar (red gram), urad (black gram) and moong (green gram) are also expected to shrink.

We have a robust system of predicting monsoon but we need to consider the large variations in weather pattern across the country, Tyagi said.