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Sunday, May 19, 2024, 5:18 am

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 5:18 am

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Farmers in India should prepare for stronger monsoons while sowing.

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts a plentiful monsoon.
Between June and September, the country is forecast to receive 6% more rainfall than the average of 87 cm. This is a bold forecast by the agency, which generally avoids predicting surplus or deficit rain in April. With high temperatures and heatwaves in many southern states, the prospect of abundant rainfall may seem promising. However, there is a bad side to this silver lining. According to the IMD’s climate models, there is a 30% chance of “excess” showers, defined as more than 10% of average rainfall. In comparison, the expected “above normal” rains are 31%, which is defined as 5%-10% of normal.
The small difference indicates that severe rains are equally likely as ‘above normal’ precipitation.
Rainfall is forecast during the second half of the monsoon season, specifically in August and September.
The IMD’s models predict a La Niña, the opposite of an El Niño, which typically leads to less monsoon rainfall. The La Niña is likely to be supported by a positive Indian Ocean Dipole, which causes a cooler Indian Ocean in the east compared to the west, bringing rain to numerous southern Indian states. The IMD predicts “neutral conditions” (neither El Niño nor La Niña) throughout June and July, but does not provide specific rainfall data. The combination of two arid monsoon months and torrential rains in the last two months may be beneficial for agriculture, but it is also expected to cause major flooding and significant damage to lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure. Kerala’s 2018 floods highlight India’s vulnerability to natural calamities. The forecast is expected to be updated by the end of May, but the current warning from the IMD should be taken seriously. To prepare for disasters, states should develop emergency plans to strengthen infrastructure, make evacuation plans, inspect dam structural stability, and establish early warning systems. Farmers in India, who rely on rain-fed agriculture, should be aware of the potential for a stronger second half of the monsoon and plan accordingly.

ABHISHEK VERMA

 

 

 


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