Deaf to Achhe Din, El Nino Delays Rains
Monsoon some distance away from Lankan coast, 4 days after scheduled arrival date
The first signs of a delay in the southwest monsoon have led to anxiety in India as a heat wave is roasting many parts of the country, with temperatures soaring to 47 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan. The monsoon is still some distance away from the Sri Lankan coast four days after should have hit the island.
There’s little possibility of early respite on the horizon, barring expectations of pre-monsoon showers in the south. The weather office does not see any quick progress in the annual weather system that irrigates fields, replenishes reservoirs and stimulates economic activity in rural areas. “The current conditions of the southwest monsoon with regards to cross-equatorial monsoon flow does not indicate advance of monsoon during next three days. However, the dynamical models of IMD are suggesting the development of a monsoon trough from June 1 onwards over Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Heat wave conditions will increase and spread across other states in the coming days,” said BP Yadav, head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre at the India Meteorology Department in New Delhi. The monsoon is forecast to be below normal this year, posing a big challenge for the newly elected government of Narendra Modi. The agriculture ministry has made frantic preparations and planned for short-duration crops that can withstand low rainfall. Monsoon rainfall im- pacts the majority of the people in the country, particularly in rural areas as most farms do not have irrigation facilities. Low rainfall also hurts hydropower generation and raises farm demand for diesel apart from increasing the demand for electricity. This year’s monsoon may be disrupted by the rapidly developing El Nino phenomenon that causes droughts and floods in different parts of the world. The weather office said that apart from the hot afternoon sun, nights are also getting warmer with minimum temperatures up to 5 degrees higher than normal in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The Himalayan states of Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir as well as Himachal Pradesh are also warmer than normal, weather office data show.
For north India, which saw an unusually benign summer with frequent showers until recently, the outlook is not promising. “Rise in maximum temperatures by 3-4°C likely over east India during next 72 hours and by 2-3°C over northwest India during next 48 hours,” the weather office said in its forecast. Heat wave conditions continue to prevail over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, UP, Vidarbha and Haryana.” The weather office is watching closely for any sign of monsoon showers hitting the country. “We are monitoring day to
The monsoon is forecast to be below normal this year, posing a big challenge for the newly elected government of Narendra Modi
day development and changes in wind pattern, cloudiness, humidity and rainfall and as of now we will stick to June 5 plus minus four days,” he said.
According to IMD, if after May 10, 60% of the available 14 stations across Kerala, Karnataka, Sri Lanka and Lakshadweep report rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days, the monsoon is declared to have set in.
Even as the southern states received staggered rain, most parts of the country have seen day temperatures rising. The maximum temperature in the country was recorded at 46.7°C in Churu in Rajasthan, followed by 46.6°C in Shivpur in Madhya Pradesh and 46.2°C in Kota in Rajasthan. The maximum temperature in the capital was 44°C on Thursday. The monsoon is critical for India’s farmers who depend on them for irrigation. Forecasts have warned of below-normal rainfall in the June-September reason, raising concerns about growth and prices.
The wind-driven, cross-equatorial flow has been weak to moderate, leading to the delay in the monsoon, according to GP Sharma, chief meteorologist at Skymet Weather Services.
This cross-equatorial flow refers to moisture-laden winds that move from the southern hemisphere to the northern one in the direction of Indian Ocean and subsequently the Arabian Sea. The winds carrying the monsoon sweep across the Indian landmass from the southwest, hence Kerala is their first port of call.