India has recorded ‘above normal’ monsoon rainfall for the second year in a row, only for the first time since 1958-59. In 1958, the monsoon rainfall was 110% of long period average (LPA) and 114% the next year.
Releasing salient features of 2020 south-west monsoon, the IMD said on Thursday all India seasonal rainfall this year was quantitatively the third-highest in the past 30 years, after 1994 (112%) and 2019 (110%). The rainfall during the June 1-September 30 period this year was 95.8cm against the long period average of 88cm based on data of 1961-2010 — it means nearly 9% surplus (109% of LPA).
The distribution of seasonal rainfall was, however, not uniform this year. The country recorded the highest 127% of LPA rainfall in August while July was a deficit month with 90% of LPA. With the surplus rainfall in June, August and September, the country also recorded an all-time high acreage. Based on it, the Union agriculture ministry has set a record target of 301million tonnes of foodgrains for the 2020-21 crop year.
The rainfall has to be 96-104% of LPA to be considered as ‘normal’ and between 104-110% to be described ‘above normal’.
The IMD’s first stage forecast for the seasonal rainfall over the country as a whole, issued in April, was 100% of LPA with a model error of ± 5% of LPA.
The forecast was, however,upgradedto102%of LPA with a model error of ± 4% of LPA in the IMD’s update in May end.
The IMD also predicted a probability of 65% of monsoon rainfall to be ‘normal’ to ‘above normal’.
The actual seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole was 109% of LPA, which is more than the predicted value and thus turned out to be very positive for the kharif (summer sown) crops.
The monsoon started retreating from western parts of north-west India on September 28 against the normal withdrawal date of September 17 with a delay of around11days.