India may receive higher rainfall this year than previously predicted, a top IMD official said on Wednesday citing the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon.
India would see normal monsoon with 96 per cent of rainfall still maintained as the current forecast, and an update could only be known by the first week of June, K.J. Ramesh, Director General of India Meteorological Department, told IANS.
"From the current trend where for now the strong El Nino is weakening, the monsoon may increase," he said.
"We will still have to wait and watch though," Ramesh said.
According to the IMD official, the actual status of the overall rainfall in India depends on the future status of El Nino and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) activities.
The pattern suggests that a moderate or strong El Nino and a positive IOD results in good rainfall.
El Nino is a climatic phenomenon which is the warm phase of the cycle in the Pacific Ocean and IOD is a climate event occurring over the equatorial Indian Ocean. Both impact the monsoon.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) earlier in April predicted a 96 per cent monsoon for 2017 season average, with a moderate error estimated at 'plus-minus five per cent' of the Long Period Average (LPA).
On Tuesday, some reports claimed IMD predicting that the monsoon could be above normal and bring 100 per cent rainfall instead of 96 per cent predicted earlier.
The IMD assessment also suggested 38 per cent of probability for "near normal monsoon rainfall", depending on the situation of El Nino and IOD.
A figure between 96 and 104 per cent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 per cent above normal.
"There are two constraints; first is being near normal which is about 96 per cent. The second prediction is based on a weakening trend of the El Nino, which may lead towards the positive trend of a near normal rainfall (based on the 38 per cent probability). But we will still have to wait for the actual range," Ramesh said.
He further added that the present trends which may lead to a moderate El Nino could increase the rainfall based on the 36 per cent probability and a positive trend on the error estimation of plus-minus five per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA).
"But we will have to see when does that happen," Ramesh said.
Indian monsoon period is from June 1 to September 30, which is the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.
"We have not issued any update of the monsoon, that would be in the first week of June. For now the prediction is still 96 per cent with error estimate of plus-minus five," M. Mohapatra, IMD scientist, said.
According to private weather forecaster Skymet, if we predict the Long Period Average from the current pattern, the monsoon would be not more than 98 per cent or in normal conditions around 97 per cent.
"However, there are no chances of a 100 per cent rainfall," Mahesh Palawat, director Skymet, told IANS.
He added that the season would be good for the farmers anyway.
"There are no heavy pre-monsoon rains to destroy the wheat during harvest season, and by June, the time of planting the paddy, rainfall would range from good to moderate," Palawat said.
He added that while East and Central India would see normal monsoon, the pattern in northwest region including Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Western Uttar Pradesh, where monsoon had been below normal for past two years, will see a comparatively weaker monsoon.
"These areas have irrigation facilities, which would balance the water consumption with the rainfall," Palawat added.