The India Meteorological Department has predicted normal rainfall from India this year. This annoucement comes as good news for the country's farm sector and the overall economy. An important indicator of having better farm output across India is good spatial rainfall distribution.
According to a report by The Times of India, in 2016, India recorded normal rainfall, which led to the record estimated output of foodgrain this crop year (2016-17), but this was after two consecutive bad years in 2015 and 2014 respectively, when there was drought in several areas around the country.
Despite the IMD predicting 'above normal' rainfall last year, there was inadequate rain in the southern peninsula when parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala reeled under drought-like situation.
However, IMD Chief KJ Ramesh stated that the country will experience good rainfall in 2017. This year, the seasonal monsoon is likely to be 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with an error of +/- 5%. If the average rainfall is between 96-104 per cent of the LPA, then the monsoon is considered to be 'normal'.
While announcing the IMD's first stage forecast of the 2017 southwest monsoon season for June-September, Ramesh also stated that there is a 38% probability of improvement of monsoon rainfall beyond 96% of the LPA.
The IMD's update predicting month-wise and region-wise rainfall will be released in June. The weather forecasters would be able to make more accurate predictions after information on the evolution of El Nino or La Nina (sea surface temperature conditions over the Pacific) becomes available.
The southwest monsoon winds usually hit India's mainland in the first week of June, with Kerala experiencing the first spell of rains. The onset of monsoon will be predicted in the third week of May.
Less than 90 per cent: Deficient monsoon (drought condition)
90-96 per cent: Below normal monsoon
104-110 per cent: Above normal monsoon
Beyond 110 per cent: Excessive monsoon