- A countrywide forecast prepared for the first time recently depicts deficit soil moisture conditions in India.
- This forecast has been jointly prepared by IIT Gandhinagar and the India Meteorological Department (IMD), for the first time.
- It provides a country-wide soil moisture forecast at seven and 30-day lead times. Through this joint project, the IMD has provided this information from mid-July onwards.
- It uses the ‘Variable Infiltration Capacity’ model to provide the soil moisture prediction.
- The product, termed ‘Experimental Forecasts Land Surface Products’, is available on the IMD website and has been developed using the hydrological model that takes into consideration soil, vegetation, land use and land cover among other parameters.
- Significance of soil moisture
- Crucial information needed for agriculture is not revealed only through rainfall data, so soil moisture gives us more information on what is needed for crop growth in different parts of the country.
- Soil moisture is crucial for agriculture since it directly affects crop growth and how much irrigation is required for the area.
- Significance of soil moisture for the rabi season
- As per official data, the total area sown under rabi crops is around 625 lakh hectares of which wheat takes up 300 lakh hectares.
- Timely soil moisture forecasts will help target interventions, in terms of seed varieties for better planning in agriculture.
- Findings of soil moisture map
- Based on presently observed conditions,Gujarat, parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh are deficient in terms of soil moisture right now.
- If similar conditions prevail longer, these regions which will demand heavy irrigation whether that comes from groundwater or surface water storage (reservoirs).
- Soil moisture conditions in western Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand, and Chhattisgarh are likely to be normal or surplus at the start of the rabi sowing season