New Delhi, July 2: Weather scientists today pinned their hopes for a surge in the monsoons advance over central and northern India on a feeble low pressure system over the northwestern Bay of Bengal and on statistics.
India has received 16 per cent rainfall, which is below normal during the first month of the season, and 31 of the countrys 81 water reservoirs are filled to less than 50 per cent of the normal capacity.
But computer simulations of the weather indicate that a feeble low pressure zone currently observed over the northwestern Bay of Bengal is likely to move along a west-northwestward direction and expand the monsoon zone into central India by July 4 or 5, the India Meteorological Department said.
Simulations suggest that a low pressure area may develop over the bay around July 6.
This could push the monsoon over Uttar Pradesh in the next two or three days and across the northwestern plains Indias grain basket by July 8, the IMD said in its weekly monsoon forecast.
The monsoon will certainly advance northward during July thats for sure the key question is how active will it be as it does this, said Damodar Pai, director of long range forecasting division at the IMD, Pune.
Agrometeorologists and officials in the water resources ministry say good rainfall during July will be crucial for both agriculture and for the improvement of water levels in reservoirs many of which are currently below normal.
The overall storage in water reservoirs in the eastern region is 65 per cent below normal in Bengal, 59 per cent below normal in Orissa, and 27 per cent below normal in Jharkhand, according to data from the Central Water Commission.
Figures from the agriculture ministry indicate a spurt in paddy sowing over the past week. The area where paddy has been sowed has jumped from 2.4 million hectares on June 25 to 4.6 million hectares on July 2.
This is about 1,00,000 hectares more than the area under paddy at the same time last year when India had experienced a severe rain deficit. The rainfall during June 2009 had been nearly 50 per cent lower than normal.
The Central Water Commission said today 27 of the 36 reservoirs that are used to feed hydroelectric power into the national grid have storage levels below normal. The storage along the Ganga, Indus, Narmada, Sabarmati, Tapi, and Godavari are below normal. But the overall position of reservoirs is better than it was at this time last year, Ram Chandra Jha, a senior CWC official said.
The current combined storage in Indias 81 reservoirs is 131 per cent of last years storage, and 89 per cent of average storage of the last 10 years. All four southern states currently have higher than normal storage levels.
Scientists are banking on weather statistics for an active monsoon over the next three months of the season. The IMD has predicted a normal monsoon (102 per cent) and an increasingly wetter season from July through September.
A slight dip in the sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific ocean region a phenomenon called La Nina which is associated with good rainfall over India is also, for weather scientists, a source of hope for wetter weather ahead. Over the past century, weve had 21 La Nina years 15 had normal rainfall, 6 had excess rainfall, said Pai