India sees the lowest August rainfall in a century: IMD

Context : 

India experienced 36% less rainfall than average in August, the lowest monthly total in more than a century. August typically experiences the second-highest rainfall (25.4 cm) of the four monsoon months, trailing only July with 28 cm.

What is the usual amount of rain that India receives during the monsoon season?

In India, the monsoon season’s long-term average (LPA) rainfall is 88 cm. The heaviest rainfall months are July and August, with monthly totals averaging 200–300 mm. June through September is considered the rainy season. The annual average rainfall ranges from 750 to 1,500 mm. The summer monsoon season accounts for 70–80% of the annual total rainfall.

What is the present amount of rain received by India?

  • Historical Low Rainfall: With a 36% deficit from the average rainfall for the month, August saw the lowest rainfall in India in more than a century.
  • Previous Extreme Shortfalls: The previous time India had such extreme rainfall deficits in August, there were shortfalls of 25% and 24%, respectively.
  • National Rainfall Deficit: The entire country’s rainfall deficit is 10%, while regional deficits in the east and northeast, the centre, and the south are 17%, 10%, and 17%, respectively.

What are the possible reasons behind the low rainfall in India?

  • El Nino: El Nino is a climate event that causes the central and eastern Pacific Ocean to warm. Normal weather patterns, such as the Indian monsoon, are frequently disturbed by it. In many areas of India, especially during the monsoon season, El Nino is linked to less rainfall. In this instance, the intensification of El Nino is a factor in the inadequate monsoon rainfall.
  • Unfavourable Oceanic Conditions: The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are mentioned in the article as having unfavourable conditions. These serve as significant moisture sources for the Indian monsoon. The performance of the monsoon might be affected by any irregularities or disturbances in the sea surface temperatures and atmospheric conditions in these areas.
  • Indian Ocean variability: The Indian Ocean is a key component of the monsoon system. Rainfall during the monsoon can be increased by favourable conditions in the Indian Ocean, such as the presence of rain-bearing low-pressure systems. On the other hand, bad circumstances might reduce rainfall.
  • Natural Climate Variability: The Indian monsoon is renowned for its inherent fluctuation in the climate. Factors like the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which is defined by changes in sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean, may have an impact on it. Rainfall can be increased or decreased depending on the IOD.

What are the impacts due to the low rainfall?

  • Agriculture:
    • Drought conditions can result from decreased rainfall, which can impact crop output and food production. The monsoon rains have a significant impact on important crops like rice, wheat, and sugarcane.
    • Crop failure can cause a shortage of food, an increase in food costs, and more financial hardship for farmers.
  • Water Resources
    • Reduced water levels in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, which are essential for irrigation, drinking water supply, and industrial processes, can result from low rainfall.
    • A lack of water can cause problems in daily life, agriculture, and industrial production.
  • Hydropower Production
    • In India, a large number of hydroelectric facilities rely on river water flow, which is susceptible to changes in rainfall. Power generation may be affected by low water levels.
  • Financial Effects:
    • India’s economy is significantly influenced by agriculture. Low agricultural production and a bad monsoon might hinder GDP development and cause economic problems.
    • Farmers may experience financial hardship, which would have an effect on rural livelihoods and encourage rural-to-urban migration.
  • Food Costs:
    • Food costs may rise as a result of crop failures, impacting both urban and rural customers.
  • Animals and livelihoods
    • Reduced rainfall can influence the availability of pasture and water for livestock.
    • Agriculture-dependent livelihoods, such as those in rural areas, may be negatively impacted.