Representational image

(KK Choudhary/BCCL Mumbai)

Tuesday, May 31: The 2022 monsoon season is here! Following its three-day-early arrival over Kerala on May 29 (instead of June 1), the southwest monsoon is now continuing its advancement over other parts of South and Northeast India.

As this progression continues, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has released an updated long-range forecast for the monsoon season, which follows the first seasonal forecast that was released on April 14.

While this new update echoes the previous release’s prediction of a normal monsoon this year, it has one major change in the specifics: it indicates that from June to September 2022, the countrywide precipitation is likely to be 103% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of ± 4%.

With India’s monsoon rainfall average between 1971-2020 amounting to 87 cm, the new information means the country may record seasonal precipitation up to 89.6 cm this year.

Furthermore, India’s monsoon core zone, which houses a majority of the rain-fed agricultural regions, is expected to experience above normal rainfall (106% of LPA) this year.

This spells more good news for India, as normal monsoon rainfall is crucial for sufficient agriculture yield, replenishing reservoirs critical for drinking water and power generation across the country, and indirectly keeping the pressure on overall retail inflation low.

Tercile probability rainfall forecast for the 2022 southwest monsoon season.

(India Meteorological Department)

As for the regional precipitation, the southwest monsoon rainfall is expected to be above-normal (106% of LPA) for the Central and South Peninsular states, and normal (96-106% of LPA) over the Northeastern and Northwestern parts of the country.

Overall, the seasonal rains are likely to be well distributed spatially. But while most parts of the country are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall, some areas in northeast, east, east-central and extreme southwest peninsular India may witness below-normal precipitation.

Meanwhile, the prevailing La Niña conditions over the equatorial Pacific Ocean are likely to continue through the season, with the development of negative IOD conditions over the Indian Ocean during monsoon dubbed as ‘most likely’.

These sea surface temperature conditions over both oceans will have a strong influence on the meteorological developments throughout the season, and therefore, the IMD will continue to monitor them closely for the next four months.

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