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This pre-monsoon season second driest in 65 years

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New Delhi:  The pre-monsoon season this year is the second driest in 65 years, with gross rainfall deficiency recorded at 25 per cent, said private forecaster Skymet.

The country witnessed 99 mm of rainfall in the three-month pre-monsoon season that ended on May 31, against the average of 131.5 mm, it said.

All the four regions of the country – Northwest India, Central India, East and Northeast India as well as South Peninsula — have recorded deficit rains of 30 per cent, 18 per cent, 14 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

“This has been the second driest pre-monsoon season in the last 65 years, with the lowest being recorded in 2012 when countrywide cumulative rainfall deficiency had mounted to 31 per cent,” Skymet said.

“In fact, pre-monsoon rains in 2019 have exactly performed the same as in 2009. That year too saw similar rainfall, resulting in 25 per cent lag in rains.”

It also said there was similarity between 2009 and 2019 as “they have been El Niño years. Thus, rains have been reacting in a somewhat identical pattern”.

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El Niño is a sea surface temperature situation over the Pacific Ocean that is said to have strong negative influence on Indian monsoon.

Skymet has expressed concerns over the performance of monsoon this year, saying the “mere presence” of El Niño could affect it.

“We had seen mild El Niño in 2009, with Niño 3.4 indices juggling between 0.5 degree Celsius and 0.7 degree Celsius. However, it resulted in a severe drought to the tune of 22 per cent,” it said.

“Coming to 2019, there has been excessive warming in the Pacific Ocean and Nino 3.4 indices have been settling in the range of 0.7 degree Celsius to 0.9 degree Celsius so far. It is already affecting monsoon season as we expect below normal rains during the onset month of June by at least 23 per cent.”

Skymet has predicted “below normal” monsoon this year to the tune of 93 per cent of the long period average (LPA) of 887 mm.

The average or normal rainfall in the country is defined between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of the 50-year average for the entire four-month monsoon season.

It also said that this year the country’s southern and central states might witness late and weak monsoon and advised farmers to postpone the sowing of kharif crops to at least the second week of June.

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