In a noteworthy update from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), August has emerged as the driest it has been since the year 1901, the inception of available rainfall records. Amidst this backdrop, the IMD's latest announcement on Thursday has brought optimism for the upcoming month of September. According to their projections, rainfall is expected to revert to near-normal levels, and a resumption of monsoon conditions is anticipated to begin this Saturday.
In terms of numbers, the rain gauge indicated a total of 162.7 mm of precipitation for August, marking a 36 percent shortfall for the month. While the typical August rainfall standard is set at 254.9 mm, the previous record low since 1901 was observed in 2005 at 191.2 mm, according to media reports.
The scarcity of rainfall in August has resulted in the average maximum temperature climbing to 32.09 degrees Celsius, a reading that hasn't been surpassed since 1901, exceeding the standard of 31.09 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the average minimum temperature for August settled at 24.7 degrees Celsius, the second-highest on record for the month since 1901.
Geographically, certain regions encountered a deficiency in rainfall during August, including Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gangetic West Bengal, Kerala, parts of Karnataka, and Maharashtra. In contrast, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand saw rainfall within the expected range.
Looking ahead to September, the IMD's forecast predicts normal rainfall, encompassing a range between 91 percent and 109 percent of the long-term average, which stands at 167.9 mm. The projections anticipate above-average rainfall for areas like Northeast India, east India, foothills of the Himalayas, and certain parts of east-central and south peninsular India. Conversely, other regions of the country are expected to experience below-normal levels of rainfall.
IMD's Director General, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, attributed the August rainfall shortfall primarily to El Nino conditions, characterized by elevated temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which tend to suppress rainfall. He also highlighted various contributing factors such as the Madden Julian Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole's neutral state.
Elaborating on these climatic phenomena, Mohapatra indicated that while weak to moderate El Nino conditions currently dominate the Pacific Ocean, their influence is projected to strengthen and extend into the early months of the following year. On a positive note, a favorable Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), characterized by temperature anomalies across the western and eastern Indian Ocean, could counterbalance the effects of El Nino in September.
Mohapatra expressed optimism that a positive IOD, combined with the potential formation of low-pressure systems and conducive Madden Julian Oscillation patterns, could bring about a shift in the trend of rainfall activity for September. As he emphasized, the prevailing break in the monsoon situation is anticipated to subside, heralding the revival of monsoon activity, initially over eastern parts of the country and subsequently spreading across other regions. September 2nd onwards