India should brace for a below-normal monsoon this year, private forecaster Skymet said on Tuesday. The forecast comes just two weeks before India Meteorological Department's (IMD) prediction for the south-western monsoon.
Skymet has predicted monsoon (June-September) to be 94% for the long-period average (LPA). LPA is calculated on the basis of the average annual rainfall (89 cm) recorded between 1951 and 2000.
While predicting a staggered onset of monsoon, Skyment said there is lesser risk of lower monsoon rains in eastern regions while there is an expectation of below-normal monsoon in northwest and western regions.
“There seems to be weakness in majority subdivisions in northwest India -- Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kutch, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana and west-central India -- East MP, West MP, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Marathwada, Madhya Maharshtra, Konkan & Goa, North Interior Karnataka and Telangana during the whole season,” the prediction noted.
However on the adverse impact of El Nino, Skyment stated that it is evolving as of now, but is expected to get arrested.
“There is only a 30% chance of this phenomenon getting stronger. If this El Niño was amplifying, then there would be a stronger chance of drought, like in 2009. This does not seem to be the case at this point in time,” Jatin Singh, CEO, Skymet said.
Skymet has based its prediction on its own 'dynamical model and computing powers'. This data had been compared with the publicly available forecast models from around the world.
DS Pai, head of long-range monsoon forecast of IMD, declined to comment on the prediction and said that the met department would come out with its first prediction in the last week of April.
Pai said the first prediction would be done following the meeting of South Asian Climate Outlook Forum, scheduled for April 22- 23 in Pune.
The meteorologists from all the South Asian countries would deliberate on various global reports before arriving at a broad consensus on the monsoon pattern for the year.
However, another IMD official raised doubt about the relying on such model that lacks in-depth analysis.
On the possible impact of El Nion, an IMD official said while a majority of monsoon deficient years coincide with El Nino events, there are a number of El Nino years, where monsoon rains have been normal.
In 2009, because of the El Nino impact, India saw its third-highest deficient monsoon.
The (June to September) rainfall deficiency in 2009 for the country as a whole