India’s All-Important Monsoon Likely Close to Normal This Year
(Bloomberg) -- India’s all-important monsoon will probably be close to normal this year amid the absence of El Nino or La Nina weather patterns during the four-month wet season, according to AccuWeather Inc.
The monsoon, which typically runs from June to September, is considered normal when total rainfall is between 96% and 104% of the national average of just over 88 centimeters (35 inches), the weather forecaster said.
“It doesn’t look like a drought year across India,” Jason Nicholls, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather in Pennsylvania, said in a response to questions. “We are leaning toward a close to normal monsoon overall for the nation.”
The wet season is critical for Indian agriculture as it not only irrigates fields directly, but also fills reservoirs for crops sown in the winter. It shapes the livelihood of millions of rural Indians and influences food prices. Insufficient rainfall in the country, the world’s second-largest producer of rice and wheat, often leads to drinking-water shortages, lower crop output and higher imports of commodities such as edible oils.
About 60% to 90% of India’s total annual rainfall occurs during the monsoon, except for the southern state of Tamil Nadu that gets only about 35% of its rainfall during the period, according to the India Meteorological Department.
“There is some concern the Indian Ocean Dipole goes negative in late summer or early autumn, which may mean rainfall comes up short of normal in northwest India with an easing of monsoon rains later in the season,” Nicholls said.
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