Monsoon rains are expected to be 103 per cent of long-period average (LPA) of 880.6 millimetres (mm) for the four-month period from June to September. The forecast is with an error margin of plus/minus 5 per cent of LPA.
If the forecast comes true, the actual rainfall in the country could be around 907 mm.
This could also mean that for the third consecutive year, India will have a normal to above-normal rainfall during the monsoon months.
India defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 88 centimetres for the entire four-month season beginning June. In 2020, actual rainfall across India was 109 per cent of LPA. In 2019, it was 110 per cent of LPA.
Last time India had three consecutive years of normal monsoon, according to Skymet, was between 1996 and 1998.
A well-distributed and timely monsoon will mean another year of bumper farm production in 2021. This will be one less reason to worry about an economy already battling the second wave of Covid-19 infections.
“It is too early to predict the impact of normal rains on agriculture or the economy. Everything hinges on its timely arrival, spread, and distribution,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings.
Skymet also said there is 85 per cent probability of rainfall across the country to be normal to above-normal. There is a 15 per cent chance of it being below normal.
“In the June-September months, normal rainfall is expected in East and Central India. North and Northwest India might have some chances of below-normal rainfall,” said Skymet.
It said the neutral El Niño conditions will prevail during the June-September months, while the Indian Ocean Dipole, also known as the Indian Niño, will remain neutral.
“The heartening fact is that there is no chance of El Niño impacting Indian monsoon in any way this year,” added the agency.
Monthwise, Skymet said monsoon in June will be 106 per cent of LPA, which will be 177 mm of rainfall. Monsoon in July will be 97 per cent of LPA, which will be 277 mm of rainfall. Monsoon in August is expected to be 99 per cent of LPA, which will be 256 mm of rainfall. Monsoon in September is expected to be the best at 116 per cent of LPA. According to Skymet, monsoon in September is expected to be 197 mm.
“Heavy rainfall in September will mean that monsoon withdrawal might once again get delayed this year,” said G P Sharma, president (meteorology) of Skymet Weather.
The 2020 southwest monsoon season was 9 per cent above average, which made it the second consecutive year of rainfall being more than normal — a feat that happened for the first time in 60 years. Buoyed by good rains, the overall foodgrain harvest in 2020-21 was estimated to be over 300 million tonnes, which was an all-time high harvest.