La-Nina effect: IMD raises monsoon forecast from 99% to 103%
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) recently increased the forecast for the 2022 southwest monsoon to 103% of the Long Period Average (LPA), up from 99.9%, as La Nina conditions are expected to prevail throughout the four-month monsoon season. This could boost economic growth by lowering the retail inflation rate, which reached a 95-month high of 7.8% in April.
- If the forecasts hold true, the monsoon season will be "normal" or "above normal" for the nation as a whole for the fourth year in a row, an occurrence not seen in recent years, according to weathermen.
- From 1971 to 2010, the LPA for seasonal rainfall in the country as a whole was 87 centimeters (cm).
- The forecast has a 4% margin of error.
"The number of parameters favorable for the Indian monsoon has risen since the (first monsoon forecast)....in April and La Niña, which was earlier expected to turn neutral by August, is now expected to stay throughout the duration of the Indian monsoon," Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director-General of IMD, reportedly stated. "The average rainfall this monsoon season is expected to be 103% of the LPA," he added.
Meanwhile, IMD's Director General (DG) stated that India's epoch of "below normal" rains is coming to an end. He added that India may experience more years of "normal" rains between 2021-2030, while a higher number of years of "above normal" rains may occur between 2031-2040.
According to the IMD, there is only a 23% climatological chance that rainfall this year will be "deficient." IMD stated in its second-stage forecast that "monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be well distributed spatially, with most parts of the country expected to receive 'normal' to above-normal rainfall." However, rainfall in East-Central, East, and Northeast India, along with Southwest Peninsular India, will be below-normal.
The IMD stated that rainfall in central and southern India is predicted to surpass 106% of LPA, while rainfall in the northeast and northwest is expected to be "normal." Rainfall during the monsoon is considered "normal" in the northeast if it falls within 96-106% of LPA, and "normal" in northwest India if it falls between 92% and 108% of LPA, Business Standard reported.
"From an inflationary expectations point of view, this second-stage forecast is a definite positive. When it comes to inflation, a lot will depend on the actual progress of rains, planting of crops, etc...which will...be known later," said the Bank of Baroda's chief economist, Madan Sabnavis.
The forecast of above-normal rainfall over central to western regions of India is also good for the Indian economy since it is home to the majority of the pulses and oilseeds cultivated during the Kharif season. This should bode well for pulse and oilseed production and help to keep prices in check, particularly for oilseeds, which have been on the rise in recent months.
According to the IMD, rainfall in June is expected to be "normal," ranging between 92% and 108% of LPA. In June, India receives approximately 16.54 cm of rainfall. The IMD added that a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, as predicted in the second-stage forecast, could act as a barrier to the monsoon, explaining why an overall forecast of "above normal" rainfall hasn't been made.