India's crucial monsoon is expected to bring widespread showers in August but is likely to run into trouble in September, a top weather official said on Wednesday.
"In August, we are hoping for a better rainfall scenario... But there will be some problem in the terminal part of the monsoon," India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said in New Delhi.
He said he apprehended poor rainfall in September on account of the warming of the central Pacific Ocean, popularly known as the El Nino phenomenon.
The central Pacific Ocean is expected to experience a warming of the sea surface temperature by 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Celsius, he said.
Mr Rathore said that the weather office had picked up early signs of trouble in this monsoon season and warned policymakers accordingly.
Since its shaky onset in June, the southwest monsoon has witnessed 19 per cent deficient rains in the first two months of the four-month rain season, prompting experts to draw comparisons with drought years of 2002 or even worse in 1918.
In 2002, rainfall deficiency for the June to September season was 19 per cent, while in 1918 it was 28 per cent.
More recently, 2009 was a drought year with a seasonal deficiency of 23 per cent. However, with better forecasts in place, the situation was well managed and contingency plans were rolled out in time.
VUM Rao, Project Coordinator at the Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) pointed out that in 2002 when the monsoon was 19 per cent deficient, the loss in foodgrain production was to the tune of 24 million tonnes.