Western forecasts signal good monsoon in India

* Normal monsoon rains forecast by U.K., U.S. scientists

* Japanese forecasts indicate weaker monsoon rains

* India to issue formal monsoon forecast on April 20

By Ratnajyoti Dutta

PUNE, India, April 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Weather scientists from
the United States and Britain expect normal monsoon rains in
India this year, reinforcing the top local forecaster’s view
that chances of another drought in the country are remote.

Monsoon forecasts for India are keenly watched by traders
and analysts as the south Asian nation, one of the world’s top
producers and consumers of sugar, wheat, rice and edible oils,
depends on rains to irrigate 60 percent of its farms.

“We expect near-normal or above normal monsoon for India,”
M Vellinga, senior scientist at the British weather office,
told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in the western
Indian city of Pune on Wednesday. Last year, the June-September
season, which delivers 75-90 percent of the total rainfall
received in most parts of India, was the worst since 1972,
stoking inflation and turning it into the world’s top buyer of
edible oils and a key importer of sugar.

The latest data shows the food price index was up an annual
17.70 percent in the middle of March, strengthening
expectations for a hike in interest rates when the central bank
reviews policy next month. [ID:nSGE6370AB].

Good rainfall will ease pressure on the government, which
has seen widespread protests over rising prices, and faces a
stormy parliament session from Thursday as rival parties have
teamed up to oppose ballooning prices. [ID:nSGE63B0L2]

The head of India’s weather office said monsoon rains were
unlikely to fail for the second successive year.
[ID:nSGE63904E]

GOOD RAINFALL

Michael Tippett, a scientist at the International Research
Institute for Climate and Society, also expects good rainfall
in India this year. “We see close to normal monsoon for India,”
he said.

Indian scientists said they were encouraged by forecasts
that the El Nino weather phenomenon, which upsets normal
weather patterns, was receding.

Rupa Kumar Kolli, a climate expert at the World
Meteorological Organisation, said the El Nino, associated with
an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, was likely to
be neutralised by the middle of June.

Tippet said the reverse cooling phenomenon was likely. “Sea
surface temperature conditions hint at La Nina.”

Such a development should improve rainfall.

But one weather scientist from Japan said monsoon rains
would be weak this year.

“A less than normal monsoon is likely over India,” said
Kiyotoshi Takahashi of the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Indian weather officials say the monsoon remains a “mystery
phenomenon” and no forecaster could have predicted last year’s
devastating drought. [ID:nSGE63C0GS]

India’s weather office is likely to issue its formal
weather forecast next week and update the prediction in June
after including latest weather data in its model.

It considers several parameters such as surface temperature
in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and other sets of
data in its statistical model.
Stock Market Research

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Western forecasts signal good monsoon in India