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Hope floats for normal monsoon

Jamshedpur, April 25: If national forecast of a “below-normal” monsoon has dampened your spirits, take heart. Weathermen in Jharkhand are sanguine of borderline benefit, which the IMD’s long-range prediction has not delved into as of now.

According to monsoon analysts in the state, Jharkhand would experience more than the 95 per cent rainfall that has been projected by the national weather monitor. In climate terms, the range of “normal” monsoon begins at 96 per cent and goes up to 104 per cent before surplus rain can be declared.

“This is the first IMD forecast on monsoon and is primarily based on the El Nino effect, which is associated with warming of ocean water. But, we have our fingers crossed. The second forecast, expected around mid-May, will give a better picture about monsoon in Jharkhand,” said A. Wadood, a weather scientist at Birsa Agriculture University in Kanke, Ranchi.

The IMD, whose forecast is based on a statistical model that relies on various weather parameters, in a statement last evening said that the monsoon’s seasonal rainfall was likely to be 95 per cent of the long-period average with an error of plus or minus five per cent.

Last year, the IMD in its preliminary long-range forecast had pegged monsoon rainfall at 98 per cent.

The 2014 forecast comes after the country witnessed three straight years of normal monsoon while Jharkhand registered marginal deficit.

In 2013, the Arabian Sea component of the south-west monsoon was stronger as compared to the Bay of Bengal, which resulted in a good spell of rainfall in southern, central and northern regions. Jharkhand reaped the benefit towards the end of the season and also in post-monsoon period (after September) owing to the impact of a series of cyclonic storms including the Phailin.

Officials at Patna Meteorological Centre, which keeps tabs on Jharkhand’s weather, said that they currently find no adverse condition that might impact normal monsoon in the state.

“Though it is too early to comment, we don’t see anything adverse. The heat-low condition that forms in Jacobabad (Pakistan) and is one of the indicators of good or bad monsoon in Jharkhand is normal too. Besides, the maximum temperature in the state has consistently remained above 38°C, resulting in heating of land. We also don’t find anything abnormal in the low-pressure trough, which stretches between Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Bengal. Such a trough suggests good monsoon in the state,” explained R.K. Giri, the officiating director of Patna Met office.

Another weather expert, B.N. Chaudhary, pointed to a pre-monsoon indicator. “If the summer is a scorcher without Nor’wester rain and precipitation caused by other atmospheric circulations, monsoon is generally magnanimous,” he said, adding that last year the state saw three storms during March-April, but registered a monsoon deficit of 23 per cent.

So far, no Jharkhand district — except for Ranchi and Dumka — has opened its pre-monsoon shower account.

Chaudhary maintained that the IMD would issue a detailed long-range forecast in early June with specific analysis for western, southern, eastern and central India.

The total average seasonal rain in the state is 1,092mm, of which 82 per cent takes place between June and September. Last year, Jharkhand recorded 844.4mm during the four months.