India Is Likely To Receive Normal Monsoon This Year, Says IMD

India is expected to have a normal monsoon in 2020, says India Meteorological Department.

IMD, in its first monsoon forecast on April 15, said that India is likely to receive <a href="">near-normal rainfall</a> at 96 percent (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)
IMD, in its first monsoon forecast on April 15, said that India is likely to receive near-normal rainfall at 96 percent (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

India is expected to receive a normal monsoon in 2020, the meteorological department said, offering some good news to an economy that has come to a standstill during the world’s biggest lockdown to contain the new coronavirus pandemic.

“Annual rainfall during the June-September rainy season is likely to be 100 percent of the long-term average, with an error of plus or minus 5 percent,” Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, secretary at the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said in a press conference.

The forecast comes when India is under a four-week lockdown to contain Covid-19. That has frozen economic activity. While the government plans to resume industrial and agricultural activity in a staggered manger, Goldman Sachs forecast that India’s real GDP growth could fall to 1.6 percent in the ongoing fiscal compared to its earlier projection of 3.3 percent. A normal monsoon, which waters more than half of India’s farmland, will be even more crucial to spur demand in the economy.

This is the first stage forecast. The second stage forecast will be released in the first week of June. This forecast is based on the statistical model, Rajeevan said. The dynamical forecast shows a 70 percent probability of above normal monsoon, he said, because of La Nina phase in the pacific ocean.

“Not only our dynamical model but a few others suggest that at present the El Nino force is in a neutral phase. However, by second half of monsoon, we are likely to be in La Niña phase,” he said. “We have to wait till June to see how these dynamical models shape.”

El Nino is associated with below-normal rainfall but there’s no one-to-one association between El Nino and monsoon rainfall, the India Meteorological Department has been quoted saying earlier. La Niña is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America, and is considered to be the counterpart to El Nino.

India recorded its best monsoon season in 25 years in 2019, paving the way for more bountiful crops, including oilseeds and pulses. The season provides more than 70 percent of the country’s annual rainfall between June and September.

India Revises Monsoon Onset And Withdrawal Dates

The Indian Meteorological Department has designed a new objective criteria for defining monsoon onset over the entire country, the Earth Sciences Ministry Secretary said.

Monsoon onset date for Kerala remains June 1, while that for Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh is delayed by three to seven days compared to existing normal dates. Over the extreme northwest of India monsoon will arrive earlier on July 8 versus existing date of July 15, he added.