Nepal is likely to get a normal monsoon, raising hopes of good harvests for major crops in a country largely dependent on agriculture.
Experts in South Asia and from the World Meteorological Organisation have predicted normal monsoon in Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan while rains could be below average in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and parts of Pakistan.
Monsoon that roughly lasts from June to September is the backbone of such crops as paddy, wheat, maize and barley.
Meteorologists in the country have cautioned that if El Nino, an irregular event of warming of Pacific waters causing rain deficiency during summer, takes place it could cause rainfall below normal.
Since 2010, weather experts including those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been taking part in the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum held annually to produce and disseminate a regional assessment of the state of the regional climate for the upcoming season.
As per the consensus statement of the sixth version SASCOF released last month, the probability of monsoon being normal is 40 percent while the chances of it staying above and below normal are 30 percent each for Nepal.
Saraju Baidya, deputy director general at the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, said the forum held in India last month has predicted below normal to normal rains for South Asia as a whole with Nepal most likely to witness normal rains. “However, there is also possibility of evolution of El Nino effect during the upcoming season that could affect the overall rainfall pattern along with other regional and global factors,” he added.
Last year, the conclave came out with a consensus report suggesting that the monsoon in 2013 would be “within the normal range with a slight tendency towards above average”, with probability of above-normal rain in Nepal.
Good rains in the country last year boosted crop yield evidently that a 10 percent growth in the agricultural sector was possible this fiscal. To provide a comprehensive and more nation-specific seasonal forecast including the impact on agriculture, said Baidya, a monsoon forum is being organised on May 25.
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