Macro@Moneycontrol | Wondering what the monsoon forecast hullabaloo is all about?

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Monsoon rains, the lifeline of the country's Dollars 2 trillion economy, are expected to be 97 per cent of a long-term average, KJ Ramesh, director general of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), said. Unlike the IMD, Skymet had predicted a 100 per cent normal Monsoon, with an error estimate of plus-minus 5 per cent. "The forecast suggests that the monsoon rainfall during the 2018 season averaged over the country as a whole is likely to be 97 per cent", IMD Director General K.J. Ramesh said at press conference here.

A normal south-west monsoon bodes well for the Indian economy and is likely to boost rural demand and alleviate farm distress.

According to IMD, there is 42 per cent possibility of normal rainfall and 12 per cent possibility of above normal rainfall - it means there are good chances of normal rainfall in the country. The average rainfall in "above normal" monsoon is between 104-110 per cent of the LPA while anything beyond 110 per cent of the LPA is considered as "excess".

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The onset of the monsoon in June kick-starts planting of rain-fed Kharif crops. Last year, rainfall was close to normal at 95% of the LPA, while in 2016 rains were recorded at 97% of LPA. The IMD considers the Monsoon to be normal if the average rainfall is between 96 to 104 per cent of long period average.

The rains after making a steady start in June and July, went for an extended break in August and also till early September which pulled down the total cumulative seasonal rainfall.

The IMD's reasoning for the unexpected break is that it was caused by intra-seasonal variability as Pacific cyclones over Bay of Bengal pulled the monsoon currents towards them, leading to the disappearance of rains over Central and Northern India, plunging them on the brink of drought.

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