Rain droplets glisten on rice growing in a field of farmland in Uttar Pradesh. Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

More Than 50% Chance Of Normal Monsoon This Year, Says Skymet 

Indian private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Services Private Ltd. has forecast a more than 50 percent chance of normal monsoon this year.

“Right now, looking at all the conditions our first guidance for monsoon 2019 is that there is more than 50 percent chance of normal rains,” Skymet's Managing Director Jatin Singh said at a conference in Delhi today. “The situation is volatile because El-Nino is fluctuating, but several models are showing that it will devolve.”

The monsoon is considered ‘normal’ if the average rainfall is between 96 and 104 percent of the long-period average. Anything less than 90 percent is termed a ‘deficient’ monsoon, while 90-96 percent is considered ‘below normal’. An average between 104 to 110 is stated ‘above normal’ and anything beyond 110 is referred to as ‘excess’.

The monsoon was below normal last year after two successive years of normal rains. A good monsoon, which waters more than half of India’s farmland, is crucial to boost consumption and the economy. Monsoon rain levels in India and their distribution largely determine crop output and are among the most important factors in guiding retail food inflation.

Forecast

The monsoon for 2019 would be distributed between normal and below normal, Singh said. The Skymet forecast:

  • Skymet sees more than 50 percent change that the monsoon will be between 96 and 104 percent of the long-period average.
  • The second most likely outcome is of below-normal (90-96 percent of average) monsoon.
  • There’s only a very small chance of a drought or excess monsoon, says Skymet.

The forecaster will release another update in the first week of April.

"If I were to draw a curve for weather forecast guidance, distribution towards drought and distribution towards excess rainfall is limited,” explained Singh. “According to our calculations, it is slightly more in favour of normal than below normal.”