India forecasts early arrival of much-awaited southwest monsoon

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The critical southwest monsoon, lifeblood to Indian’s $2 trillion economy, is likely to break over the southern state of Kerala on May 29, the Ministry if Earth Science said in a statement, adding that there was an error margin of plus or minus four days.

The southwest monsoon, which brings 70 percent of the country’s rains, usually sets over Kerala on June 1, marking the start of the rainy season.

It advances over the Andaman Sea normally around May 20 with a standard deviation of about one week, the statement pointed out, adding that conditions are likely to become favorable for the advance of the monsoon into some parts of Andaman Sea and southeast Bay of Bengal around May 23.

“Past data suggest that there is no association of the date of monsoon advance over the Andaman Sea either with the date of monsoon onset over Kerala or with the seasonal monsoon rainfall over the country,” the statement said.

Good monsoon is critical of India’s vast rural and farm sector, which relies on rains to feed their crops. Good rains also fuels the economy as a rich harvest boosts demand for goods and services in India’s villages and smaller towns.

The India Meteorological Department’s operational forecasts of the date of monsoon onset during the past 13 years (2005- 2017) were proved to be correct except in 2015. Forecast verification for the recent 5 years (2013-2017) is given in the table below.

 

Year Actual Onset Date Forecast Onset Date
2013 1st June 3rd June
2014 6th June 5th June
2015 5th June 30th May
2016 8th June 7th June
2017 30th May 30th May

 

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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