India is likely to see the driest August since 1901, when the country began keeping weather records, but the monsoon is expected to recover significantly after September 4, a senior official has said.
Speaking to NDTV, Dr M Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said rainfall in August has been far below normal and the intensifying El Nino conditions played a big role in that.
El Nino is a weather phenomenon that occurs when ocean temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean rise above normal. This causes changes in atmospheric patterns, leading to a weakening of the monsoon circulation over the subcontinent. The monsoon tends to be weaker and less reliable during El Nino years.
Mr Ravichandran also attributed the below-normal rainfall this month to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is known to reduce convection in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea
“In May itself, we had forecast normal rainfall in June and July and below-normal monsoon in August because of a possible El Nino impact. Overall, the country’s rainfall deficiency between June 1 and August 29 is 9%,” said Mr Ravichandran.
He said the monsoon rainfall is expected to be 2-3% less than the 96% of the Long Period Average that had been forecast in May, but it will still be in the normal category
“We expect the monsoon to recover significantly after September 4, 2023. We are expecting that rainfall in September will cover the shortfall recorded in August,” Mr Ravichandran said.
If the monsoon does remain in the normal category, this will be India’s fifth straight year of normal or above normal monsoon.