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India’s Monsoon 2023: A Mixed Symphony of Showers With Average 94% Rainfall

India received 94% of its long-period average (LPA) rainfall during the June to September period, reported the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its monsoon report.

This year's monsoon journey was characterized by varying conditions, with some regions celebrating plentiful rains while others grappling with deficits.

The seasonal rainfall statistics for different regions of India tell a story of contrasts:

  • Northwest India: This region was blessed with abundant rainfall, receiving 101% of its LPA. This surplus precipitation is expected to benefit agriculture and replenish water reservoirs.

  • Central India: Central India also witnessed a favorable monsoon, recording seasonal rainfall at 100% of the LPA. This provides a solid foundation for agricultural activities in the region.

  • South Peninsula: The southern part of the country experienced a slightly drier monsoon season with seasonal rainfall reaching 92% of the LPA.

  • Northeast India: Northeast India faced the most significant shortfall, with rainfall registering at just 82% of the LPA. This deficit could potentially have implications for agriculture and water resources in the region.

Subdivision Breakdown

The country's meteorological subdivisions provide further insights into the distribution of rainfall:

  • Approximately 9% received excess rainfall, which bodes well for crops and water reserves.

  • A majority of 73% experienced normal rainfall, maintaining a balance for agriculture and ecosystems.

  • Conversely, 18% received deficient rainfall, posing a challenge for agriculture and water management. Among the subdivisions that faced deficient rainfall were Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura (NMMT), Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, East UP, South interior Karnataka, and Kerala.

Monthly Rainfall Trends

  • June started with 91% of LPA rainfall.

  • July brought a surplus with 113% of LPA, offering relief to parched regions.

  • August turned drier, registering only 64% of LPA.

  • September concluded the monsoon season on a wet note with 113% LPA, ensuring a relatively moist conclusion.

Monsoon Onset and Withdrawal

The southwest monsoon began its journey ahead of schedule by reaching the south Andaman Sea and Nicobar Islands on 19th May, three days earlier than expected. However, it faced sluggish progress after that. It eventually set over Kerala on 8th June, which was seven days later than the normal date. Fortunately, it covered the entire country by 2nd July, six days ahead of the norm. The monsoon withdrawal commenced from west Rajasthan on 25th September, with an eight-day delay.

Forecast Accuracy

The IMD's forecasting prowess remained robust. The forecast for the monsoon onset over Kerala was accurate, marking the seventeenth consecutive correct prediction since 2005. However, the forecasts for the season's overall rainfall, which predicted 96% ± 4% of LPA, slightly overshot the actual rainfall, which turned out to be 94% of LPA.

As India transitions into the post-monsoon season, the focus now shifts towards assessing the impact of the monsoon on agriculture, water resources, and overall livelihoods in the country. The varying rainfall patterns underscore the need for precise forecasting and adaptive agricultural practices to mitigate the effects of unpredictable monsoon seasons.

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