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Meteorological And Hydrological Drought Looms Large Over Kerala

August 22, 2023 1:58 PM |

Kerala is the 3rd rainiest meteorological sub-division of the country during the southwest monsoon season, from June to September.  Coastal Karnataka followed by Konkan & Goa rank 1st and 2nd respectively. These three sub-divisions along the Western Ghats account for nearly 20% of the quantum of monsoon rainfall for the country.  June and July are the rainiest month and claim 65% of seasonal rainfall. September is the least rainy with a monthly average of 271.8mm against the seasonal total of 2018.7mm, from June to September.

The late arrival of the monsoon first and sluggish progress during the onset phase left the state with a huge deficit of 60% in the month of June.  Courtesy, series of monsoon systems developing over the Bay of Bengal, July, the rainiest month performed satisfactorily but still remained deficit by 9%.  However, the month of August has been the Waterloo for the state. Between the 01st and 21st of August, the state has gathered only 42.8mm of rainfall against the average of 334mm of rainfall, a large shortfall of 90%. The irony remains that there is no silver lining for the remaining days of August. The dark phase may even stretch to the concluding month of September, as well.

At the beginning of August, there was a shortfall of 35% seasonal rainfall for the state.  This deficit has now climbed to 46%  and has all the signs to shoot up further and may reach 50% by the month's end. 

Meteorological drought looks imminent for the state. Even, hydrological drought, which often follows meteorological drought looms large. This drought refers to anxiously low water supply in the rivers, canals, lakes, aquifers, reservoirs and any other water bodies of that region. It leads to water stress build-up for the sub-surface reserves, impacting the farming sector.

The emergence of monsoon systems over the Bay of Bengal and offshore north-south troughs all along the Western Ghats are the main source of monsoon rainfall. Neither of these is expected to perform in the remaining days of August. The scenario does not look lavish even thereafter, in September.  The state is on its way to becoming the largest deficit pocket of the country during monsoon 2023.

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