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25th September 2023 (10 Topics)

September rain

Context

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.

Concerns:

  • 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.
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