Don’t worry, El Niño may not hit monsoon rains this year; here’s what weather department says

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Published: March 28, 2019 12:57:54 PM

Even though concerns on El Niño gain ground globally, India may not be impacted much as monsoon would be robust this year, said state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Monsoon, Monsoon Forecast, Skymet, Weather, Agriculture, Economy, Rain, Rain IndiaIMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the complete four-month season starting in June.

Even though concerns on El Niño gain ground globally, India may not be impacted much as monsoon would be robust this year, said state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD). Monsoon may remain healthy, if there is no surprise on El Nino front, K J Ramesh, director general of the IMD, told news agency Reuters. However, he also said that it’s difficult to predict monsoon in advance.

“It’s really early to talk about the pattern that this year’s monsoon will follow, but we do know that practically no one is predicting a strong El Niño,” K J Ramesh told the news agency.

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It’s difficult to ignore El Niño effect completely as the probabilities for the same stand at 80 per cent currently, GP Sharma, president of Metrology & Climate Change at Skymet told CNBC-Awaaz. Even as the prospects may gradually decline in the core monsoon months of June and July, they remain at 60 per cent, he added. However, the probability may recede as the season prolongs, he also said.

IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the complete four-month season starting in June.

A strong El Niño can lead to droughts in Australia, Southeast Asia and India, while causing heavy rains in other parts of the globe including the US Midwest and Brazil.

More than half of the population in Asia’s third-largest economy works in agriculture and the rains in monsoon season directly have an impact on their incomes and livelihood. Agriculture adds up to more than 15 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), implying crop failure when monsoon fails, harming the economy.

The farmers plant crops including rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean during the season as approximately half of the country’s arable lands lack irrigation facilities.

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