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Climatic conditions do not indicate a difficult monsoon in 2018, says IMD

IMD's latest summer update had indicated the favourable La Nina weather condition was likely to moderate till spring and start weakening thereafter

Sanjeeb Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

India Meteorological Department, IMD, monsoon, monsoon in India,La Niña El Niño,southwest monsoon season,agricultural meteorologist, Long Period Average,Weather Risk Management Services, rainfall, monsoon season

Though it is early to predict, senior officials from state-run (IMD) and at private forecasting agency Skymet feel nothing in weather patterns till now indicates a difficult in India in 2018.

However, scientists also note, conditions do change quite fast.

IMD’s latest summer update had indicated the favourable La Niña weather condition was likely to moderate till spring and start weakening thereafter. Some global models are indicating emergence of the dreaded El Niño weather phenomenon and this might have a bearing on some part of the four-month southwest season in India that starts from June. However, weather officials here say even if an El Niño emerges, it is expected to be mild.

“More, it is not always that ocean conditions align totally with atmospheric conditions. A clear picture will emerge only a few months later,” a senior official said.

He said the Indian Ocean Dipole, another weather factor that impacts the Indian monsoon, remains ‘neutral’.

“It is still early days to assess if it will be a weak or strong in 2018,” director-general K J Ramesh told Business Standard.

On Tuesday, news agency Reuters said that India’s rains were expected to be slightly below normal this year. Quoting Kyle Tapley, a senior at Radiant Solutions, formerly MDA Earthsat, the report said La Niña was weakening and “we are moving towards neutral weather”, forecast to be followed by El Niño in the second half of the year as the most likely scenario.


In 2017, the southwest was 95 per cent of the Long Period Average, considered less than normal. The rains were fairly normal in the first two months of June and July. And, then went for an extended break in August and also early September in some parts. termed this the usual ‘intra-seasonal’ break, while others said was under the influence of El Niño.

The extended mid-season break impacted some regions of central and western India. Later the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh declared drought in a total of 52 districts and sought central assistance.

“The actual situation will get clear from the middle of March onwards. So far, our initial predictions show nothing unusual in the weather patterns but, then, these are still very early days and the picture will get clear around May,” said a senior official from a private weather forecasting agency.

Another private agency, Weather Risk Management Services, said based on weather patterns till the middle of February, the southwest in India was expected to be on the ‘positive side of normal’. “June is expected to have excess over most parts of the country. July and September are expected to be within normal limits on the positive side. August might witness subdued activity, with some areas like the west coast and peninsula under the deficit category,” it added.

First Published: Wed, March 14 2018. 06:55 IST