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India faces below normal monsoon under El Nino effect

In news that is not pleasant for the farming community, India is expected to see below normal monsoon this year with Met department forecasting 95 per cent rainfall after a good spell of four years

New Delhi: Monsoon rainfall in India this year is likely to be below average and there is a 60 percent chance that El Nino will affect farm output and economic growth, the weather office said Thursday.

Average rainfall during the 2014 monsoon season (June to September) across the country is likely to be 88 percent with a margin for error of plus or minus five percent, according to data released by the India Meteorological Department and Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO).

Deficient monsoon will negatively impact farm output and economic growth. Nearly half of India's farmland lacks irrigation and is dependent on monsoon.

The weather office said there is 60 percent probability of El Nino affecting monsoon inm India. El Nino impacts the atmosphere and increases temperature, which could further disrupt rainfall.

“Latest forecast from a majority of the models also indicates warming trend in the sea surface temperatures over the equatorial Pacific reaching to El Nino level during the southwest monsoon season with a probability of around 60 percent,” India Meteorological Department and Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO) said in a statement.

On southwest monsoon, it said the seasonal rainfall is likely to be 95 percent of the long period average with a model error of plus or minus five percent.

The long period average (LPA) of the seasonal rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1951-2000 is 89 cm.

The experimental forecast based on the coupled dynamical model forecasting system suggest that the monsoon rainfall during the 2014 monsoon season (June to September) averaged over the country as a whole is likely to be 96 percent with margin of error of plus or minus five percent of long period model average.

The experimental five category probability forecasts for the 2014 monsoon season rainfall over the country using the experimental dynamical prediction system are 33 percent (deficient), 20 percent (below normal), 24 percent (normal), 6 percent (above normal) and 17 percent (excess).

Last year, the monsoon was above average with rainfall over the country 106 percent of the long period average. This led to a record grain output of 262 million tonnes in 2013-14.

Poor farm output due to deficient monsoon may drag already sluggish Indian economic growth and spiral inflation.

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