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Forecast revised: more rain

By Our Special Correspondent

Photo: S. Arneja

The Director-General of the Meteorological Department, R.R. Kelkar, addressing mediapersons in New Delhi on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI July 9. Here is some good news on the monsoon front from the India Meteorological Department. The apex weather agency today came out with a revised forecast, according to which rainfall during the four -month season will be more than what had been anticipated earlier.

Also, it announced that the rainfall during the current month, which is crucial for agricultural activities, would be normal, if not in excess. (Last year's drought is attributed mainly to the total failure of rains during July).

Addressing a press conference, IMD Director-General, R.R.Kelkar, said that according to new estimates, the total rainfall for the season as a whole would be 98 per cent of the long period average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus four per cent. The earlier forecast, made on April 16, was that the rainfall would be 96 per cent of LPA, with a model error of plus or minus five per cent.

As regards the forecast for the current month, he said the estimate is that the rainfall would be 102 per cent of LPA, with a model error of plus or minus nine per cent, making it normal, if not excess rainfall.

The revision in forecast for the season as a whole was on the cards as the IMD had introduced a new forecasting model this year— enabling the issue of an advance forecast in April based on data available up to March and another updated version in July using data up to June.

The updated estimate is expected to be more accurate as, besides being based on additional data, it took into account two extra parameters, for which the data became available only last month — the El Nino trend and the speed of low level easterly winds over the south Indian Ocean. Both factors have been assessed to be favourable.

As regards the forecast for the current month, this is the first time that the IMD is making a forecast for one month in particular.

It is being made in the context of last year's experience and also as July is the month of maximum rainfall.

The country suffered one of the worst droughts last year mainly because of the total failure of rain during July. The country as a whole had recorded a deficiency of minus 30 per cent during the month, making it the driest-ever July in the annals of IMD.

"It is very difficult to construct such a specific model (for just one month). But, despite the problems, we have tried and have achieved a modest degree of success, limiting the margin of error for the model to plus or minus nine per cent'', Dr. Kelkar said.

In addition, the IMD today announced that while for the country as a whole the rainfall was likely to be 98 per cent plus or minus four per cent, the north-east and peninsular region were likely to get slightly more than the national average — 100 per cent and 99 per cent of LPA respectively, and the north-west slightly lower, at 97 per cent of LPA.

The estimates, however, had an error margin of plus or minus eight per cent.

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