Though it is early to predict, senior officials from state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) and at private forecasting agency Skymet feel nothing in weather patterns till now indicate a difficult monsoon in India in 2018. However, scientists also note, monsoon conditions do change quite fast. IMD’s latest summer update had indicated the favourable La Niña weather condition was likely to moderate till spring and start weakening thereafter. Some global models are indicating emergence of the dreaded El Niño weather phenomenon and this might have a bearing on some part of the four-month southwest monsoon season in India that starts from June. However, weather officials here say even if an El Niño emerges, it is expected to be mild. “More, it is not always that ocean conditions align totally with atmospheric conditions. A clear picture will emerge only a few months later,” a senior IMD official said. He said the Indian Ocean Dipole, another weather factor that impacts the Indian monsoon, remains ‘neutral’. “It is still early days to assess if it will be a weak or strong monsoon in 2018,” IMD director-general K J Ramesh told Business Standard. On Tuesday, news agency Reuters said that India’s monsoon rains were expected to be slightly below normal this year. Quoting Kyle Tapley, a senior agricultural meteorologist at Radiant Solutions, formerly MDA Earthsat, the report said La Niña was weakening and “we are moving towards neutral weather”, forecast to be followed by El Niño in the second half of the year as the most likely scenario. In 2017, the southwest monsoon was 95 per cent of the Long Period Average, considered less than normal.
Source: Business Standard