Though concerns on El Niño gain ground globally, India may not be impacted much as monsoon would be robust this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said. Monsoon may remain healthy, if there is no surprise on the El Nino front, Dr. K J Ramesh, director general of the IMD, said. However, he also said, that it’s difficult to predict monsoon in advance.
'It’s really early to talk about the pattern that this year’s monsoon will follow, but we do know that practically no one is predicting a strong El Niño,' Dr. Ramesh said.
It’s difficult to ignore El Niño effect completely as their probabilities stand at 80 per cent currently, Mr. GP Sharma, president of Meteorology and Climate Change at Skymet said. Even as the prospects may gradually decline in the core monsoon months of June and July, they remain at 60 per cent, he added. However, the probability may recede as the season prolongs.
The IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the complete four-month season starting in June.
A strong El Niño can lead to droughts in Australia, Southeast Asia and India, while causing heavy rains in other parts of the globe including the US Midwest and Brazil.
More than half of the population in Asia’s third-largest economy works in agriculture and the rains in monsoon season directly have an impact on their livelihood. Agriculture adds up to more than 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product implying crop failure when monsoon fails, harming the economy.
The farmers plant crops including rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean during the season as approximately half of the country’s arable lands lack irrigation facilities.