Skymet Weather Forecasts Normal Monsoon for India in 2018


Skymet, India’s leading weather forecasting and agriculture risk solutions company has released its Monsoon forecast for 2018. Skymet expects the upcoming Monsoon to be ‘normal.’ It has forecast Monsoon at 100% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm for the four-month period from June to September. In terms of geographical risk, Skymet expects that Peninsular India along with major portion of Northeast India is likely to be at higher risk of being rain deficient throughout the season (JJAS). The onset month of June and the withdrawal month of September give a promising picture in terms of good countrywide rainfall distribution. Meanwhile, July and August may see comparatively lesser rainfall. To be precise, August would be a shade poorer than July.

East India, especially Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal are most likely to see normal Monsoon rains throughout the season. According to Jatin Singh, CEO, Skymet, “Devolving La Niña and gradual warming of Pacific is ruling out the possibility of excess rains. Nevertheless, Nino index and neutral IOD may not have any adverse impact on the Monsoon performance and thus, Monsoon 2018 is likely to be normal”.  These are some key factors that have a major impact on the performance of Southwest Monsoon. Presently, weak La Niña conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean and most likely, the transition of La Niña to ENSO neutral conditions would take place during March to May. In fact, three-monthly Nino index shows that by MJJ (May-June-July) there is over 60% chance of neutral, 24% chance of La Niña and 14% chance of El Niño coming into existence. IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) is in the negative phase but within the neutral limits at present. However, weather models are indicating that IOD would possibly shift near normal during the second half of Monsoon.

Meanwhile, MJO (Madden–Julian oscillation) is currently inactive but it is too early to comment on its impact on Monsoon. Pre-Monsoon heat is considered as a positive indicator and points towards normal Monsoon. Similar conditions are presently prevailing across the country. In fact, weathermen are of the view that pre-Monsoon season would be slightly below normal, paving way for intense heat before the onset of Monsoon.

According to Skymet, Monsoon probabilities for JJAS are:
• 5% chance of excess (seasonal rainfall that is more than 110% of LPA)
• 20% chance of above normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 105 to 110% of LPA)
• 55% chance of normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 96 to 104% of LPA)
• 20% chance of below normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 90 to 95% of LPA)
• 0% chance of drought (seasonal rainfall that is less than 90% of LPA)

On a monthly scale, the precipitation foreshadow is as follows:
June – 111% of LPA (LPA for June = 164 mm)
• 30% chance of normal
• 60% chance of above normal
• 10% chance of below normal
July – 97% of LPA (LPA for July= 289 mm)
• 55% chance of normal
• 15% chance of above normal
• 30% chance of below normal
August – 96% of LPA (LPA for August = 261 mm)
• 55% chance of normal
• 10% chance of above normal
• 35% chance of below normal
September – 101% of LPA (LPA for September = 173 mm)
• 60% chance of normal
• 20% chance of above normal
• 20% chance of below normal

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