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Early Arrival of Southwest Monsoon in Kerala Signals Potential Above-Normal Rainfall

Southwest Monsoon Makes Early Arrival in Kerala, Forecasts Predict Above-Normal Rainfall

In an unexpected turn of events, the Southwest Monsoon has made its entrance in Kerala two days prior to its anticipated schedule, embarking on its journey towards various regions, including the Northeast. This development is critical, particularly as the regions in North India are grappling with an intense heatwave, providing a much-needed reprieve.

Traditionally marked around June 1st, the early arrival of the Monsoon in Kerala signals a promising start to the season. This phenomenon, closely monitored by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), is accompanied by a forecast that suggests India is on the brink of receiving above-normal rainfall over the course of the year. This is particularly significant as conditions hint at the onset of La Nina by the latter part of the year, around August to September.

Experts at the IMD have projected the Southwest Monsoon season’s rainfall across India to exceed the average, with anticipations of greater than 104% of the Long Period Average (LPA). Specifically, seasonal rainfall is expected to be around 106% of the LPA, notwithstanding a margin of error around ±5%. For context, the LPA of monsoon rainfall, based on data from 1971 to 2020, stands at 87 cm.

However, it’s crucial to note that while the forecast is optimistic, the normal cumulative rainfall should not be misconstrued as an indication of uniform distribution across the country. Climate change has injected a layer of unpredictability into the equation, with impacts on the temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall. According to climate scientists, the pattern of rainy days is shifting, with a decrease in the number of rainy days but an increase in heavy rainfall events. This imbalance has led to more frequent occurrences of droughts and floods, complicating the challenges faced by regions dependent on the monsoon rains.

Insights into historical data from 1951 to 2023 revealed that India experienced above-normal rainfall during the monsoon season on nine occasions, following the transition from an El Nino to a La Nina event. This pattern underscores the impact of global climactic phenomena on India’s monsoon rains.

Looking ahead, the IMD has heightened expectations for the upcoming monsoon season, from June through September, predicting cumulative rainfall to reach 106% of the LPA, an encouraging forecast for the agriculture sector and water reservoirs across the country. Factors contributing to this positive outlook include predicted positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions and a lower snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Such conditions are generally conducive for a stronger Southwest Monsoon, offering hope for ample rainfall to sustain agriculture and replenish water sources across India.

As the season progresses, all eyes will be on the skies, hoping that the early arrival of the Southwest Monsoon in Kerala heralds a year of bountiful rains, alleviating the challenges posed by climate change and securing water resources for the nation’s needs.

Ethan Wilder

Ethan Wilder is a conservation photographer and videographer whose lens captures the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world and the critical challenges it faces. With a focus on wilderness preservation and animal rights, Ethan's work is a poignant reminder of what is at stake. His photo essays and narratives delve into the heart of environmental issues, combining stunning visuals with compelling storytelling. Ethan offers a unique perspective on the role of art in activism, inviting readers to witness the planet's wonders and advocating for their protection.

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