After an above normal June (+16%), July is going to end with (-15%). This is near normal but less than our initial forecast (+4%). We stand today at the half way mark, and Monsoon so far is normal at 96% of June-July LPA (452 mm). As anticipated, Central, North and East India came out as winners in July, leaving Peninsular India at a loss. Just to give a glimpse, in 2014 till July end rainfall departure was -22%, with 19 subdivisions deficient and 17 normal and none in excess. This year 6 subdivisions are excess, 17 are in normal category while 13 are deficient.
Taking cognizance of July rain, and the updated August and September forecast, we are revising the Monsoon forecast to 98% (normal) of the LPA from 102% issued in April (error margin of +/-4%). There is 63% chance of normal, 35% chance of below normal and 2% chance of drought. Cumulative rainfall for August and September is forecast at 92% and 112% (error margin of +/-9%) of their monthly LPA’s respectively.
The major quantum of rainfall in August is likely to be received during the first fortnight. We expect a break between the 15th and 20th of August, a revival between the 20th and 24th of August and another small circulation at the end of the month. Peninsular India continues to be at risk. North Interior Karnataka, Marathwada and Rayalaseema will be the most vulnerable pockets in India. West Coast too is not likely to revive in a big manner, affecting Konkan region (Mumbai) and Kerala.
The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) helped rainfall in June. But after June 28, it went to a record negative phase, inducing multiple Typhoons in the West Pacific, stealing moisture away from the Indian Ocean. MJO is currently erratic. We may conclude two things: MJO might not affect August rainfall adversely and might be favorable in September.
El Niño is strong and we have factored this into our forecast. El Niño weekly indices have shown a marginal drop, as region Niño 3 dropped from 2.3°C to 2.1°C; Niño 1.2 dropped by 0.6°C from 2.9°C. And Niño 3.4 dropped from 1.7°C to 1.6°C. An El Niño episode correlates well with deficient rainfall in North and North West India and normal/above normal rainfall in Peninsular India. 2015 is peculiar, as the situation is reversed.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is presently neutral and is on track to becoming positive in August. This is favorable for the Monsoon.
Till the end of third week of July, overall Kharif acreages have gone up by 143.4 Lakh ha from 550.42 Lakh ha in 2014 to 693.8 Lakh ha in 2015. Monsoon has been good in Rajasthan, Gujarat & MP that gave boost to Kharif pulses (majorly Moong & Urad, Oilseeds - Soybean, Groundnut & Sesame) and Coarse cereal. Deficient rainfall in Maharashtra & North Karnataka has resulted in poor sowing, however rains expected in August first fortnight will help increase sowing acreage as sowing window is still open. Most of the Kharif crops sown are in vegetative stage and moving towards the flowering stage. This rain will secure the Kharif crop. And the forecast rain in first fortnight of September will be a bonus. Acreage under paddy has increased by 12% from 176.53 Lakh ha in 2014 to 188.52 Lakh ha in 2015. Good rains in July & first fortnight of August will be beneficial for the paddy crop. Area under cotton increased by 23.3% from 76.13 lakh ha in 2014 to 99.52 lakh ha in 2015. Rains in the second half of July were beneficial. Acreage under pulses increased by 24.4% from 48.22 lakh ha in 2014 to 72.64 lakh ha in 2015. Acreage under oilseeds increased by a spectacular 35% from 107.84 lakh ha 143.02 lakh ha in 2015. Soybean acreage benefitted the most as its sowing area increased by 27.04 Lakh ha from 77.77 lakh ha in 2014 to 104.81 Lakh ha in 2015. Groundnut and sesame followed.
Major increase is observed in coarse cereals where sowing has increased by 48.5% from 87.18 lakh ha 135.77 lakh ha in 2015. Maize, Bajra and Jowar acreage also benefited.
Also read: Revised Monsoon probabilities for JJAS