Due to intensified El Nino this year, the monsoonal rains has seen a shift in its regular trend, causing the majority of Indian farmers to depend on tubewell or canal water irrigation for their crops in Kharif season.
So, let us take a look at weather factors responsible for crop losses and deficit rains with shift in rains to September.
About the September Rain:
The Month of September has seen around 7% surplus rainfall so far.
The September showers have been most beneficial for oilseeds, especially soyabean and groundnut.
Inflationary pressures have also eased in vegetables, whose consumer price index had jumped 37.4% year-on-year in July and 26.1% in August.
Reasons for Irregular Rains:
Due to El Nino: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a 73% chance of average sea surface temperatures in the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean ruling more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above normal during October-December and 78% probability of exceeding 1 degree in January-March 2024.
Due to Positive Indian Ocean Dipole: Positive IOD tends to lead to decreased rainfall in parts of South Asia, including India.
This can result in drier conditions, impacting agriculture and water resources in affected regions.
Farmers may face challenges related to water scarcity and drought conditions.
Positive IOD can influence sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean, which, in turn, can affect weather patterns and temperature fluctuations in the region.
Due to upcoming Retreating Monsoon season:
The retreating monsoon, also known as the post-monsoon season, marks the withdrawal of the southwest monsoon winds from the Indian subcontinent.
It begins in September and continues into October.
During this period, there is a reversal of wind direction. Instead of moist winds from the southwest, dry winds start blowing from the northeast.
This transition phase is known as the northeast monsoon or the retreating monsoon.
However, while northern India experiences cooler and drier conditions, the southern and southeastern regions receive precipitation.
Significance of September Rains:
The September rains are essential for the cultivation of crops like rice, pulses, and oilseeds in southern India.
They help recharge groundwater levels and ensure a steady water supply for irrigation.
A third of India’s paddy area remained un-irrigated and rainfall has been deficient in the whole of eastern UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal.
The crop in large areas of Punjab and Haryana suffered inundation due to excess rain and water released from dams.
Farmers there had to then re-transplant short-duration paddy varieties, including of basmati, yielding less than those planted earlier in June.