The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that rain totals during the week ending May 15 were down 33 percent from average for all of India. Looking at some cane growing regions, rainfall in northwest, central, and south India was down 26 percent, 73 percent, and 70 percent, respectively.
For the pre-monsoon period beginning in March, all-India rainfall is down 22 percent from the long-term average. While central India rains for that period are right in the middle of the long-term trend, northwest India rainfall is down 36 percent, and rainfall in the south is down 46 percent.
Researchers have identified a correlation between below-average monsoon rains, El Niño conditions, and a pattern of temperatures in the Indian Ocean known as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IDO). A positive IOD—when the Indian ocean sees hotter, wetter weather in the west and lower temps in the east—can combine with El Niño, leading to reduced monsoon rains in India. Australia, too, may see significantly reduced rains.
For now, IMD analysis suggests that while El Niño conditions may begin to weaken in the next few months, the IOD may turn from neutral to slightly positive. In its latest forecast, IMD believes that the start of monsoon rains may be delayed by almost a week for parts of the country.
India 10-day anomalous precipitation
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