Monsoon To Be ‘Near-Normal’ This Year: IMD

New Delhi: The South-west monsoon will be “near-normal” this year at 96 per cent, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday said.

Secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan Nair said that over a long period average (LPA), they expect 96 per cent rainfall of 89 cm. LPA is the average of rainfall between 1951 and 2000, which is 89 cm. Anything between 90-95 per cent of LPA falls under the “below normal” category.

According to IMD, rainfall will be well distributed throughout the country. The south-west monsoon makes its onset over India around May-end and is critical for the agriculture sector. The four-month rainy season contributes more than 70 per cent of India’s annual showers.

Some reports said weak El Nino conditions have developed over equatorial Pacific Ocean and they are likely to persist this summer. However, IMD officials have maintained that these conditions would weaken after summer.

A strong El Nino, marked by a warming of the sea surface on the Pacific Ocean, can cause severe drought in many regions like Australia, Southeast Asia and India.

The emergence of a strong El Nino triggered back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015.

Nair said IMD doesn’t expect any adverse impact on the monsoons from El Nino this year.

Today’s IMD forecast will be followed by a second long-range forecast in May, containing predictions for each of the meteorological sub-divisions.

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