India might experience a warm winter
this year, with temperatures
in all the sub-divisions likely to be higher than usual between December 2016 and February 2017.
Last year, the country had recorded the warmest winter
North India, which has the main rabi growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, would also have fewer number of cold wave spells this year.
Releasing its first seasonal forecast for the winter
season, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said the forecast indicated during the 2016-2017 cold weather season, temperatures
(mean, maximum and minimum) in all the sub-divisions were likely to be “warmer than normal”.
“The overall temperatures
across the country would be above normal. In North India, which only experiences cold waves, the number of such spells would be fewer this year,” Director General of IMD, K J Ramesh told Business Standard.
The Met said there was also an 83 per cent probability that the minimum temperatures
in the core cold wave zone would be above normal.
The core cold wave zone comprises of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Telangana and the meteorological subdivisions of Marathwada, Vidarbha, and central Maharashtra.
This could have a negative impact on standing wheat, chana and mustard crops, already battered by demonetisation. But the effect would depend on the time when a warm weather sets in.
Experts said if day temperatures
rise unusually during sowing and harvesting, the impact on standing rabi crop could be less. But if temperatures
rise abnormally during the crop maturing stage, it could have an adverse impact on the final yields of wheat, mustard and chana, said S Mahendra Dev, director of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Studies.
Sowing has been completed on 51 per cent of the usual area. Till last week, rabi crops
have been planted on 32.76 million hectares, 4.65 per cent more than that of the corresponding period last year but 7.45 per cent less than the normal area covered during the previous five years.
The average “maximum” temperature in most of the subdivisions in Northwest India was expected to be 0.5-1.0-degree-Celsius warmer than normal. Temperatures
in the remaining sub-divisions might be warmer by 0.5 degree Celsius.
The seasonal average “mean” temperature might also be more than normal in most sub-divisions.
The Met department said the main reason for the warmer-than-usual winter
indicated neutral El Nino conditions might return. IMD
had blamed this weather phenomenon, along with some other conditions, for getting its 2016 southwest monsoon forecast wrong.