India forecasts average monsoon rains this year

imageEarth Sciences Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh held that India is probable to experience average monsoon rains this year, thus forecasting a third straight year without drought. Deshmukh held that the rains during the June-September season are probable to be 99% of the long-term average. The state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) considers rains between 96-104% of a 50-year average of 89 cms in the entire 4-month season as normal. The last time there was a drought with rains below this range was 2009 and before that, in 2004.

The rain forecast ardently watched by traders and policymakers. Monsoon rains, essential for agricultural output and economic growth, irrigate about 60% of farms in the world’s 2nd-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton. The farm sector accounts for nearly 15% of India’s nearly $2 trillion economy.

This most recent government forecast is also in conformity with last week’s estimate of a global weather forum.

IMD held that the Monsoon is probable to have average rainfall in 2012 in spite of fears that the El Nino weather pattern may come forth in the second half of the season. In 2009, the El Nino weather pattern turned monsoon rains patchy, leading to the most terrible drought in almost 4 decades. Rains were within long-term averages in following years, assisted by La Nina. El Nino, an abnormal warming of waters in the equatorial tropical Pacific, is linked with poor rains or a drought-like situation in Southeast Asia and Australia. The La Nina weather pattern, which is linked with heavy rains in south Asia and flooding in the Asia-Pacific region and South America, and drought in Africa, finished in March. In the meantime before El Nino appears, weather officials articulate a neutral condition continues over the tropical Pacific.

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