Above average monsoon rains forecast for India

Relief for many as the India Meteorological Department predicts the 2016 season rains will be heavier than usual.

    Trains full of water have been sent to the regions worst hit by the current drought. [Photo by [Uday Deolekar/Getty]
    Trains full of water have been sent to the regions worst hit by the current drought. [Photo by [Uday Deolekar/Getty]

    The India Meteorological Department has predicted an above average monsoon season in 2016.

    This is good news for the country which is currently experiencing a crippling heatwave and many places are struggling in a drought.

    The situation is so bad in Latur, in the Maharashtra state, that on Tuesday a special train was commissioned to deliver a million litres of water.

    Over the last two years, the rains have been below average. This is thought to be largely due to El Nino.

    El Nino is the slight warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean, and is known to subdue the rains across India.

    The current El Nino conditions peaked in January, and are now fading. It is predicted that La Nina will emerge by the end of the year. La Nina is the opposite of El Nino - the cooling of the surface of the Pacific, and often enhances the rains over India.

    The current El Nino conditions peaked in January, and are now fading. It is predicted that La Nina will emerge by the end of the year. La Nina is the opposite of El Nino, it is the cooling of the surface of the Pacific, and often enhances the rains over India.

    Despite the optimistic forecast, Al Jazeera’s meteorologist, Steff Gaulter, advises caution:

    “Although the forecast for above average rainfall is good news, it should be taken with a degree of caution. Often there is a time lag between El Nino and the atmosphere, meaning that it can take a while for the weather to return to normal after El Nino has disappeared from the Pacific.

    It’s also worth remembering that long range forecasts are particularly difficult, so we shouldn’t assume that the drought issues will definitely come to an end.”

    Monsoon forecasts by the Indian Meteorological Department have been wrong in the past.

    In 2012, the Business Standard reported that the India Meteorological Department were only accurate 10 times in the last 25 years.

    In 2009, the monsoon was predicted to bring average amounts of rain, but the monsoon was actually the worst in nearly four decades, with a deficiency of more than 20 percent.

    The monsoon rains are expected to start to start in June, and the country’s 263 million farmers will be closely watching the skies.

    The monsoon rains are expected to start to start in June, and the country’s 263 million farmers will be closely watching the skies.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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