Rain god to help economy this Monsoon

Private weather forecaster Skymet has predicted 95 per cent rainfall with a margin of plus or minus 5 per cent for 2017 due to fears of El Nino this year.

For the second year in a row, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the monsoon is likely to be just normal at 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) this year. IMD will issue the updated forecasts in early June 2017 as a part of the second stage long range forecast of monsoon rainfall.

The monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, critical for growing crops such as rice, sugar cane, corn, cotton and soybeans because almost half of the country's farmland lacks irrigation.

Goldman maintains India's real GDP growth forecast at 7.5% and expects inflation to remain contained at 5.1%, as long as the monsoon season is normal.

A 96 percent rainfall means it is on the border line of normal and below normal precipitation. IMD, however, said weak EL Nino and positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are now combining to give a positive monsoon scenario for India in 2017, explained the Ecoflash. A high El Nino has a negative effect in terms of the weather, agriculture and economics. Entry-level passenger cars as well as utility vehicles should also seen an uptick following a good monsoon. The monsoon rains also helps in boosting the soil moisture for the rabi crop.

For generating the forecast for the 2017 southwest Monsoon season rainfall, atmospheric and oceanic initial conditions during March 2017 were used.

According to Nirmal Bang: "A good monsoon is important for recovery in the rural sector, supporting consumer spending on staples as well as discretionary goods".

The forecasts for 2017 were based on state of the art Statistical Ensemble Forecasting System (SEFS) and dynamical global climate forecasting system (CFS) that was developed under the monsoon mission.

"But there is no one-to-one relationship between El Nino and the monsoon", said D. Sivananda Pai, head of the forecasting team at IMD Pune.

Last year, despite forecasts of La Nina leading to heavy bursts of rains, India only received average monsoon rainfall, not surplus as previously expected.

With two consecutive years of deficient monsoon (2014 and 2015), foodgrain production went down to 252 mt each in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years, from 265 mt reported in 2013-14. "Hence, IMD is carefully monitoring sea surface conditions over the Pacific and Indian Oceans". It said there is a 50 per cent chance of a weak El Nino forming towards August- September. By that time, more information on the evolution of El Nino and IOD will be available.

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