Has India's southwest monsoon collapsed?

Early season flooding has led to speculation of an excess monsoon, but is that realistic?

    Has India's southwest monsoon collapsed?
    Since the monsoon burst with a vengeance, on June 12, Mumbai has collected over twice the expected June rainfall [Getty Images]

    In the space of six days, Mumbai received all the rain it might expect for June. To be more precise, one and a half times as much, and it caused deep flooding.

    In fact, since the monsoon burst with a vengeance, on June 12, the Indian city has collected over twice the expected June rainfall.

    Gujarat flooded just as suddenly from the same aggressive surge of the western arm of the monsoon and the floods in the west are still receding.

    After a slow start, the monsoon rain seemed promising. After arriving days late in the south, it then rushed across all of India and crossed into Pakistan, catching up with itself and then going ahead of schedule, by over two weeks.

    West Rajasthan was declared in monsoon on June 26, when this westernmost state would normally have to wait until July 15.

    All this has prompted speculation that the official forecast of a deficient monsoon season must be wrong.

    This, however, is man's short-term perception. Since June 27. there has been a major reduction in general rain.

    The official forecast from the Indian Meteorological Department, for the whole season, suggests at best, 92 per cent of average, for the whole country.

    As of June 29, only four states were showing as deficient and 13 quoted as in "excess" of the monsoon norm.

    The start of July, however, looks generally drier than average, although there will be plenty of thunderstorms around.

    If, at the end of the season, the rains have not recovered to at least normal, then the monsoon will be declared as "deficient," as is currently expected.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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