The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has announced that a slight delay is expected in the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala this year. Traditionally, the southwest monsoon sets in over Kerala on June 1, but this year it is likely to arrive on June 4, with a model error of 4 days. This delay could have implications for various sectors, especially agriculture, as the monsoon onset over Kerala marks the transition from the hot and dry season to the rainy season.
In recent years, the monsoon has arrived in Kerala on May 29 (2022), June 3 (2021), and June 1 (2020). However, this year’s delay does not necessarily indicate a significant deviation from the normal monsoon pattern. The IMD has previously stated that despite evolving El Nino conditions, India can expect normal rainfall during the southwest monsoon season.
The southwest monsoon is a vital weather phenomenon for India, as rainfed agriculture heavily relies on it. Approximately 52% of the net cultivated area in the country depends on rainfed agriculture, which contributes about 40% of India’s total food production. Thus, the timely arrival and distribution of monsoon rainfall are crucial for ensuring food security and economic stability.
The IMD’s forecast of a slight delay in the monsoon’s onset highlights the need for farmers and policymakers to make appropriate preparations. Delayed monsoon onset can impact crop sowing schedules and irrigation planning, potentially affecting agricultural yields. Farmers may need to adjust their cultivation strategies and consider alternative crops that require less water or have shorter growing seasons.
Other sectors, such as water management, hydroelectric power generation, and tourism, also rely on the monsoon for their operations. Therefore, a delayed monsoon arrival can have ripple effects on these industries as well.
While the IMD’s predictions provide valuable insights, it’s important to remember that weather patterns are inherently variable, and there can be deviations from forecasts. Continuous monitoring and updates from meteorological agencies will be essential to assess any further changes in the monsoon’s progress and its impact on different regions of India.
As the country eagerly awaits the arrival of the southwest monsoon, all stakeholders, including farmers, policymakers, and industries, should remain vigilant and adapt their plans accordingly to mitigate any potential challenges posed by the delayed onset.