Will IMD's prediction hold true for monsoon this time?

Last year's monsoon was above average in much of the country, bringing relief to millions of rural farmers reeling from two years of drought.

The IMD said the monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) in the current year. Yet, Imd issues another updated forecast in June.

Meanwhile, Icra in a report said the timing of rainfall will be crucial as higher rainfall in the early part of the monsoon may support sowing while adequate rainfalls in the second half is important for yields. Interestingly, Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, has predicted a "below normal rainfall" this year, with western India likely to experience a shortfall.

It will be the second consecutive year with normal rain after India suffered back-to-back drought in 2014-15, only the fourth consecutive failed monsoons in over a century that hurt incomes and drove many farmers to suicide. Rainfall of 104-110 per cent of the LPA is "above normal". IMD, however, said weak EL Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are now combining to give a positive monsoon scenario for India in 2017, explained the Ecoflash.

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A strong El Nino phenomenon causes sea temperatures to rise significantly, and has adverse effects on marine and aquatic life, agriculture and the quality of water supplies.

"There is an uncertainty, as probability of moderate El Nino in August has reduced". The long period average refers to a 50-year average of 89 cm rainfall for the entire four-month season beginning June.

However, rainfall may be somewhat deficient in the northeast and parts of south India.

"Last year, IMD had forecast above normal rainfall, but it turned out to be worst-ever deficit rainfall".

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The forecasts for 2017 were based on state of the art Statistical Ensemble Forecasting System (SEFS) and dynamical global climate forecasting system (CFS) that was developed under the monsoon mission.

The El Nino, which refers to an unusual warming of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean, is known to impact weather events worldwide and, in India, is associated with a suppressed rainfall during the monsoon season. The event occurs when the equatorial Pacific surface warms and touches off a reaction in the atmosphere above it. However, there is no one to one relationship between El Nino and Indian Monsoon.

Southwest monsoon accounts for 75-80 percent of the total rainfall in the country and is the mainstay of Kharif crop.

A normal monsoon will help GDP growth and will also ease food inflation. By that time, more information on the evolution of El Nino and IOD will be available.

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