Monsoon advances into almost entire northwest India

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The monsoon advanced into almost the entire northwest India, including Delhi, on Thursday even as there was a 10% rain deficiency across the country since June 1. The deficiency was 14% in the southern peninsula, 33% in central India, 20% in the northwest, and 21% excess in east and northeast India as of June 29.

The northern limit of monsoon is now passing through Deesa, Ratlam, Jaipur, Rohtak, Pathankot, and Jammu and conditions are favorable for further advance of monsoon into more parts of Rajasthan, entire Punjab, and Haryana over the next 24 hours.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) director-general M Mohapatra said the monsoon has entered a good phase now. “Over the past few days, rainfall has improved over the country, and now for the next week, we expect very good rainfall activity over entire northwest India, central India, entire Indo-Gangetic plains, and west coast.” He said the rainfall deficiency will be covered and on July 1, the monsoon will advance further to the entire Haryana and Punjab. “The outlook is good.”

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s extended-range forecast indicates above-average rains across the country till July 7.

The monsoon, the June to September rain-bearing system, is often called the lifeblood of India’s economy. Half of Indians depend on farm-derived income and nearly 40% of India’s net-sown area does not have access to irrigation. Similarly, half of India’s farm output comes from summer crops dependent on the monsoon. For good farm output, the rains have to be not just robust but also evenly spread across states.

A normal monsoon is critical as global food prices have hit record highs due to a shortage amid the Ukraine conflict. A subpar monsoon cuts farm yields, output, and farm incomes increasing India’s dependence on food imports.

A robust monsoon will help put a lid on food inflation by increasing the domestic output of a variety of goods and commodities. Millions of farmers await the rainy season to begin summer sowing of key crops such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals, lentils, grams, and edible oils.

Skymet Weather vice president (climate change and meteorology) Mahesh Palawat said there is a cyclonic circulation over Madhya Pradesh and a trough extending from northwest Rajasthan to the Bay of Bengal. “The trough is passing along the south of Delhi leading to enhancement of rainfall over all of northwest India. The monsoon has arrived here except only in parts of west Punjab and Haryana which will be also covered. For the next 4-5 days, patchy rains will continue in the entire region.”

He said chances of 40 degrees plus maximum temperature are unlikely. “We also do not expect any prolonged dry spell for the first 15 days of July. The outlook for July is good because ongoing La Nina conditions are supporting good rains,” said Palawat.

La Nia refers to the large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, coupled with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure, and rainfall. It usually has the opposite impact on weather and climate as El Nio, which is the warm phase of the so-called El Nio Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

ENSO has a major influence on weather and climate patterns such as heavy rains, floods, and drought. In India, El Nino is associated with drought or weak monsoon while La Nina with strong monsoon and above-average rains, and colder winters.

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