India’s four-month monsoon season has concluded with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) reporting “normal” rainfall at 820 mm, slightly below the long-term average of 868.6 mm. Rainfall between 94% and 106% of the long-term average is considered normal.
However, the distribution of rainfall during the season was uneven. The Indian monsoon, influenced by natural factors, exhibits inherent variability. Research indicates that climate change is making the monsoon more erratic, resulting in more extreme weather events and dry spells.
IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra stated that despite El Nino conditions, positive factors contributed to a 94.4% cumulative rainfall, which falls within the “normal” range. 73% of sub-divisional areas received normal precipitation, while 18% experienced deficient rainfall.
In specific regions, east and northeast India witnessed an 18% rainfall deficit, while northwest India slightly exceeded the long-term average. Central India, heavily reliant on monsoon rains for agriculture, reported near-normal rainfall. The south peninsula recorded an 8% rainfall deficit.
IMD had previously forecasted a normal monsoon for India, albeit on the lower side. It had cautioned that El Nino conditions, associated with weaker monsoon winds and drier conditions, might impact the latter half of the southwest monsoon.
India experienced a rainfall deficit in June but received excessive precipitation in July due to western disturbances and a favorable phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), known for increasing convection in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
August 2023 was the driest month on record since 1901 and the hottest ever recorded in India, attributed to the strengthening of El Nino conditions. However, September brought an excess of rain due to multiple low-pressure systems and the positive phase of MJO.
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