Apr 19, 2017 02:44 PM IST | Source:

Will IMD's prediction hold true for monsoon this time?

India Meteorological Department (IMD) yesterday issued its first forecast for the monsoon indicating a normal monsoon this year.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) yesterday issued its first forecast for the monsoon indicating a normal monsoon this year. The southwest monsoon (June-September) is expected to be normal at 96 percent of the long period average (LPA), which is at the lower end of a normal monsoon.

The met department has also said that El Nino is likely to impact rainfall in the latter part of the monsoon.

IMD classifies monsoon in the following categories; monsoon is considered normal if rains are between 96-104 percent of the 50-year average rainfall of 89 cms. The monsoon is considered to be below normal if rains are between 90–96 percent. If less than 90, it is considered deficient. Monsoon of 104-110 is classified as above normal.

Southwest monsoon accounts for 75-80 percent of the total rainfall in the country and is the mainstay of Kharif crop. Around 70 percent of Indian population depends on farming for their livelihood. The contribution of agriculture to the gross domestic product (GDP) is around 18 percent.

While analysing the data for the past 5 years, IMD prediction has seen a mixed record. Last year, IMD’s forecast above normal monsoon at 106 percent of LPA, while it was 3 percent below the benchmark LPA.

IMD predicted a rainfall of 93 percent of the LPA for 2015, while it came at 86 percent a deficit of 7 percent. Again for 2014, it predicted 95 percent rainfall and the actual rainfall received was 88 percent, again a deficit of 7 percent.

The met predicted 98 percent rainfall for the year 2013 and we received 106 percent rainfall resulting in a gain of 8 percent and above normal monsoon for that year.

Similarly, for 2012, the rainfall prediction was for 99 percent and we got 92 percent of the rainfall.


Private forecaster Skymet has predicted monsoon at 95 percent of the LPA, almost the same as IMD's. It has forecast a 50 percent chance of a normal monsoon versus 38 percent chance of normal monsoon by the IMD.

Last year, Skymet has predicted above normal monsoon at 105 percent and IMD at 106 percent of the LPA both of which were not met.

Though it has been observed that predicting weather 100 percent accurately is a very difficult job. IMD has been compiling data for many years and with time passing by we hope that the variance in its forecast gets better and come closer to the perfect.

Proper prediction of monsoon will help the government to better prepare itself for any adversity and plan ahead to mitigate any loss arising due to monsoon failure.
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