NEW DELHI – India is expected to get below normal monsoon rains this year after four straight years of normal monsoon yielding bumper crops.
The India Meteorological Department says in a statement released Thursday that the rainfall is likely to be 95 percent of the 50-year average, a bad news for Indian farmers who heavily rely on monsoon rains.
The reason cited is an El Nino, a warming of the central Pacific once every few years, from a combination of wind and waves in the tropics. It shakes up climate around the world, changing rain and temperature patterns.
The IMD statement predicted a 60 percent chance of an El Nino developing during India's monsoon season from June-October.
Monsoon rains are crucial for Indian agriculture, because nearly 60 percent of its farmland is rainfed.