Monsoon covers entire country, 12 days in advance

The monsoon has covered the entire country on Friday, 12 days earlier than expected, with officials saying this would augur well for farmers.

The monsoon usually covers the whole country by July 8.

Kuldeep Shrivastava, head of the regional weather forecasting centre, said: “Good rains on Friday helped the monsoon current surge further. There was a trough of low pressure running from Punjab and over north Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal, which helped the monsoon cover the entire country well in advance. This should be good news for farmers.”

There will be a brief lull in monsoon rains now, according to scientists of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Due to the shifting of the monsoon trough northwards and convergence of strong southerly and south-westerly winds from Bay of Bengal over northeast and adjoining east India, widespread and heavy to very heavy rainfall will continue over northeast and east India during the next three days.

Extremely heavy rainfall is likely over Bihar and Assam and Meghalaya during June 26 and 27, and over Arunachal Pradesh and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on June 26.

“The large-scale features which ensured we have a good monsoon are a neutral El Nino and neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). At a local level, we had some low-pressure systems developing during the monsoon. We also had a cyclonic circulation over central India, which helped bring good rains and advanced the monsoon current,” said IMD director general M Mohapatra.

“Now the monsoon trough is shifting northwards, and so for three to four days, there will be very heavy and widespread rains in the eastern Himalayan foothills, Bihar and the northeastern states. There will be no rain in central India during this period, and the monsoon will advance very slowly. July and August are very important months for agriculture, and we are expecting a favourable monsoon during those two months,” he added.

El Nino is a climate pattern characterised by high sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which are neutral now. El Nino years in India are linked to below normal monsoon rains, and higher than normal frequency of heat waves.

Last year, weak El Nino conditions prevailed, leading to the delayed onset of the monsoon, according to scientists.

IOD is characterised by warmer sea surface temperature in the equatorial Indian Ocean, and positive IOD conditions are associated with a normal monsoon over India.

A good monsoon, which accounts for 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is critical to the fortunes of the agricultural sector, on which at least 700 million people are dependent for a livelihood.

The monsoon is crucial for the yield of rice, wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds in a country where farming accounts for about 15% of the economy but employs more than half of its people.

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