India will receive a ‘normal’ southwest monsoon (June-September) at 99% of the benchmark long period average (LPA), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. If the forecast comes true, the country will receive normal rainfall from the annual phenomenon for the fourth year in a row.
Though India’s agriculture activities still depend significantly on the monsoon rainfall, increased irrigation facilities (45% of cultivable land is irrigated), improved farming practices and rising crop productivity are making the link between monsoon rains and farm output increasingly weak.
In its first forecast for the upcoming four-month (June-September) monsoon season, the IMD stated rainfall is likely to be 99% of LPA with a model error of plus/minus 5%. The LPA has now been revised to 87 centimetres, the average June-September rainfall during 1971-2020 from 88.1 cm earlier.
Earlier this week, private weather forecaster Skymet had also predicted normal monsoon rainfall this year at 98% of the 50-year average, with an error margin of +/-5%.
IMD also stated that La Nina conditions, which help moisture available over the Indian subcontinent, are likely to continue during monsoon months.
As part of regional variations in the forecast, the IMD predicted normal rainfall over many parts of plains of northwest India, central India, and the eastern coast. It has predicted below normal rainfall northeast and parts of northwest Indian and southern parts of the peninsula.
Monsoon rains help boost the production of Kharif crops such as paddy, coarse cereals, pulses, and oilseeds. Along with giving a boost to Kharif crop production, the normal monsoon would brighten India’s prospects in agricultural commodities exports.
Meanwhile, the Central Water Commission data showed that the water storage level in key 140 reservoirs on Wednesday was 110% of the storage level of the corresponding period of last year and 131% of storage on average in the last 10 years.