India likely to receive below-average rainfall (Lead)

June 24th, 2009 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) As people in large parts of India wait for the monsoon that has been delayed and farmers are worried about crops, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan Wednesday said the country was likely to receive below normal rainfall this year.
Quantitatively, the country will receive 93 percent of the average rainfall.

“The southwest monsoon rainfall will likely be below normal between June to September,” Chavan told reporters here.

The possibility of a margin of error in this prediction will be four percent, he said.

Chavan said the country will receive 93 percent of the average rainfall in July, while in August the rainfall will be 101 percent of the average.

Another parameter of the forecast was the distribution of rainfall over the four broad geographical regions of the country.

Northwest India will receive 81 percent of the average rainfall, the northeast will receive 92 percent, central India will receive 99 percent and the southern peninsula will receive 93 percent of the average rainfall, according to the minister.

He said there could be a model error margin of eight percent in these predictions.

Chavan, who is also minister for earth sciences, said these calculations and forecasts are based on various inputs from various research institutions and international research organisations working in the field of weather and forecast.

The minister said this is the second time the prediction has been made for the monsoon this year. The first prediction, made April 17, said it will be a “near normal” monsoon.

A below-average rainfall will spell trouble for the country in which nearly 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for livelihood.

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