The India Meteorological Department (IMD) and two private weather forecasting firms all expect a bountiful rainfall in India during the June-September monsoon season in 2016. Coming out with its monsoon forecast a fortnight earlier than usual, IMD said the rainfall was likely to be 106% of the ‘Long Period Average’ (LPA) — the average rainfall between 1951 and 2001. The LPA is 89 cm of rainfall during the monsoon, a season that accounts for over 80% of annual rainfall in South Asia.
The June to September monsoon season is crucial, with its onset kick-starting the sowing season for summer crops in the country. India receives 80% of its annual rainfall in this period and more than half the country’s farmland is rain-fed.
Last year’s monsoon saw a rainfall deficit of 14%, which was mainly attributed to El Niño, a weather phenomenon caused by unusual warming in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in atmospheric changes. The year before that, India recorded a monsoon rainfall deficit of 12%. Australia’s weather office said on Tuesday that there is a 50% chance of La Nina this year. This phenomenon has the opposite effect of El Nino, and could result in more rain in India.