On Thursday, IMD assigned 33% probability to below-normal rainfall and ~ 25% probability to deficient rainfall this year due to El Nino. Monsoon rainfall is likely to be 95 per cent of the normal with a margin of plus- minus five per cent error. One thing about El Nino is that all El Nino years are not drought years but all drought years are El Nino years
India witnessed droughts in 2002, 2004 and 2009 and El Nino. A strong El Nino can cause droughts in India, Southeast Asia and Australia and heavy rainfall in other parts of the world like the US and Brazil.
In 2002-03, total food grain production had fallen to 174 MT (-) 17.8% YoY. Total cereals (-) 18%, coarse cereals (-) 22% YoY, rice production (-) 23% YoY, wheat production (-) 10%, oilseed production (-) 28%. Ground nut was impacted the most (-) 45%, Soybean (-) 22% and Mustard (-) 24%, Castor seed production (-) 34%. Total pulses production was down by 17%. Moong was impacted the most and the production (-) 24% YoY. India’s GDP growth came at 3.9%.
In 2004-05, food grain production declined to 198.46 MT (-) 7%. Of this total cereals (-) 7%, coarse cereals (-) 11% YoY. Pulses were most impacted (-) 12%. Moong crop (-) 78% in Kharif season. Higher Rabi season production of Rice, Jowar, Maize, Ground nut and Mustard seed mitigated some of the El Nino impact felt during the Kharif season. GDP growth down to 7.5% YoY from 8.4% YoY.
In 2009-10, the total food grain production declined to 218.11 million tonnes (-)7%. Total cereals (-)7%, while coarse cereals (-) 16% YoY, rice (-) 10% YoY, maize (-)15% YoY. Total Oilseed production (-)10% YoY. Moong crop (-) 33% YoY. GDP grew by 8.6%, due to government spending in response to the GFC.
Sugar cane crop & Cotton crop stood out for different reasons. Sugarcane due to its irrigation and cotton for its Bt seed technology.
Private forecasting agencies like Skymet say there is 40% chance of below average and 25% chance that there would be a drought. North-western and western central regions parts of India would be impacted the most. It said areas around Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, east and west Madhya Pradesh, Vidharba and central Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa, Karnataka and Telangana could develop into strong localized drought regions if El Nino persists.
South Asian Climate Outlook Forum said that rains could be below average in Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and some parts of Pakistan, while an average monsoon is expected in Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. It has however said that it is a little early to assess the likely strength of El Nino.