BENGALURU: India is likely to get “below normal” monsoon rains in 2023 with an increasing likelihood of El-Nino, which typically brings dry weather to Asia, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said on Monday.
“Likelihood of El Nino is increasing and its probability to become a dominant category during the monsoon is growing large. El Nino return may presage a weaker monsoon,” Jatin Singh, managing director, Skymet said in a statement.
Monsoon rains in India are expected to be 94% of the long-term average, said Skymet, retaining its previous view of sub-par monsoon.
New Delhi defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 88cm for the four-month season beginning June.
The state-run India Meteorological Department is expected to announce its annual monsoon forecast soon.
Nearly half of India’s farmland, which has no irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow crops such as rice, corn, cane, cotton and soybeans.
Skymet expects northern and central parts of the country to be at risk of being rain deficit.
Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, known as the agriculture bowl of North India, are likely to observe less than normal rains during the 2nd half of the season, the weather forecaster said.
Meanwhile, unseasonal rains and hailstorms have damaged ripening, winter-planted crops such as wheat in India’s fertile northern, central and western plains, exposing thousands of farmers to losses and raising the risk of further food price inflation.