Business Standard

India likely to see below-normal monsoon rains in August, says IMD

Aug-Sept rains could be normal, with pick-up in Sept likely, it says

Monsoon

Rains, according to the IMD, may take a break over most parts of Central and Peninsular India from August 5, and may show some improvement after August 17

Sanjeeb Mukherjee New Delhi

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India is expected to receive ‘normal’ rainfall in the August-September period after excess precipitation in July. However, monsoon rains in August are projected to be ‘below normal’ at less than 94 per cent of the long-period average (LPA), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.
 
Below-normal rains in August, which accounts for almost 30 per cent of the seasonal rainfall, could have an adverse impact on standing kharif crops, particularly in areas which are water-stressed and where crops are at the maturing stage. LPA for the month of August is 254.9 millimetres, while it’s 422.8 millimetres for the August-September period.

“For field crops like moong, urad, groundnut, and soybean -- which are conventionally in their harvesting stage in September and expected to be in the late vegetative growth to pod formation stage in August (due to delayed sowing in June 2023) -- lower rainfall could lead to flower abortion, which may have an adverse impact on productivity of these crops,” Pushan Sharma, director (research), CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics, told Business Standard.

Rains, according to the IMD, may take a break over most parts of Central and Peninsular India from August 5, and may show some improvement after August 17.

“Rainfall will go down in August as the connection of El Nino, which so far has been minimal, will increase with the Southern Oscillation Index, which will start influencing the monsoon. But, at the same time, it is still a moderate El Nino, and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which so far has been neutral, will turn positive,” IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said during a virtual press conference. Rainfall is expected to pick up in September, he added.

September gets around 160 millimeters of rainfall out of the total seasonal rainfall of 870 millimeters. But, with the overall July rainfall being 13 per cent more than normal (among the best in recent times), the total seasonal average might turn out to be ‘normal’ in the final analysis for 2023.

Mohapatra said that during the ‘break’ phase of monsoon, the rainfall activity would shift towards the foothills of Himalayas and North-Eastern states.

The eastern part of the country, which has received 32 per cent less than normal rains in July , could get good rains in the coming months.

Region-wise, the IMD said rainfall in August 2023 is expected to be ‘normal’ to ‘above normal’ over most parts of subdivisions adjacent to the Himalayas, east central India, and many parts of east and northeast India. Below-normal rainfall is likely over most parts of the South Peninsula and many areas of western parts of northwest and central India.

Sharma of CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics, meanwhile, said July rains had provided enough soil moisture that could support crops during moderately low rainfall conditions. “Hence slightly lower rainfall in August is not likely to impact crop growth to a very large extent,” he added.

According to the IMD, regions in the East are expected to see ‘normal’ to ‘higher than normal’ rainfall in August. These (West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand) are currently in the deficient category. This can provide some relief to these regions from a crop productivity perspective.

For vegetables like tomatoes, Sharma said, adequate moisture was required throughout the growth period. “Typically, in north Indian states, tomatoes are transplanted in the month of August and September followed by fruiting. Deficit rainfall in such conditions would adversely affect fruiting and productivity of the crop.”

In case of onion, which is transplanted in the first two weeks of August, excess rainfall in key kharif onion growing areas of Karnataka and Maharashtra in the month of July is expected to ensure enough soil moisture for proper growth and bulb development, which would not significantly impact the crop,” he added.

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First Published: Jul 31 2023 | 9:44 PM IST

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