Uncertain showers – on weather forecasting capabilities of India

Source: This post is created based on the article “Uncertain showers”, Business Standard on 1st June 2023.

Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 1 – changes to the geophysical phenomenon

Context: Despite the near-certainty of an El Niño this year, the IMD maintains its prediction of a ‘normal’ monsoon.

Why IMD is predicting a normal rainfall?

The IMD’s expectation of a normal monsoon despite El Niño is based on the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) phenomenon, which involves a temperature swing between the western and eastern Indian Ocean.

The IMD believes the IOD could favour rain development and offset the reduced rains from an El Niño.

However, it’s important to note that IODs are not as strongly linked to plentiful rains as El Niño is to reduced rains.

Why an accurate prediction of rainfall s necessary?

The distribution of rainfall, both spatially and temporally, will be crucial. Significant deficits during July and August, particularly in central India, could impact agricultural output. More accurate assessments can be derived from the IMD’s extended range forecasts that provide a fortnightly prognosis.

Therefore, States and the Centre must redouble efforts to convey accurate, timely information to farmers, using all available information channels, down to the block level.

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