Even as the generous rainfall in Mumbai in grabbing headlines, there is a nine per cent monsoon deficit in the country so far. Rainfall deficit of below 10 per cent is dubbed as drought. Dr DS Pai, scientist and lead forecaster for India Meteorological Department told NDTV that the possibility of a weak El Nino developing could be a cause of worry. Usually, a warmer El Nino, also called Little boy or Christ Child in Spanish, heats up the Pacific Ocean and sometimes leads to deficient monsoon.
In a pre-election year, a good monsoon helps the incumbent government, so a below par monsoon could be a cause of worry for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government, which is bracing for the national election next year.
The monsoon arrived 15 days early, but the northeast has received 25 per cent less rainfall till now, 12 per cent less in northwest India, minus three per cent in central, whereas it has been normal in the southern peninsula.
Is it worrying in the first 40 days of monsoon, NDTV asked Dr Pai.
“After good rains in June, we are witnessing weak monsoon conditions in July. But we are expecting increased rainfall activity in the next two weeks,” he said.
In the last few days, incessant rain flooded streets of Mumbai, while Delhi continues to sweat. “There is a slight decrease in rainfall activity today in Mumbai. However, widespread rainfall activity will continue with heavy to very heavy rainfall in isolated places. And we already have a good cloud cover and we are expecting rain in Delhi and surrounding areas in the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Is it true that the months of June and July are drying up and there is more rain in July and August? Dr Pai explained, “If you see data of the last 100 years, we do not have any trend showing decreased rainfall activity either in monthly or seasonal scale, though in the month of July we have got a slight decreasing trend in recent years. Coming to entire season, taking all four months together for more than 125 years, we are getting no trend at all. In fact, a multi-decadal epochal variation can be seen in the all India rainfall and slight decreasing trend that we observed is mainly because of the decreasing epochal multi-decadal variation.”
The nine per cent rain deficit, however, doesn’t worry Dr Pai, who says that increased rainfall activity is expected in the next 15 days over most parts of country except for the northeast.