KATHMANDU, Sept 14: Weak monsoon this year spared the country of devastating floods and landslides. But this seemingly good news could be a precursor for some negative effects that might be apparent only in the coming months.
Poor rainfall is likely to have a negative impact on agricultural production and power generation, experts say.
Paddy plantation across the country was affected due to weak monsoon, whereas the water level in Kulekhani reservoir, the only reservoir project in the country, hovered way below the satisfactory mark. Besides, there could be problems in extracting ground water that might not have been adequately recharged.
The weathermen have classified this year´s monsoon as weak in view of rainfall deficit in the last three months. “It is a weak monsoon because of less than normal rainfall across the country in the last three months,” said Rajendra Shrestha, senior meteorologist at the Meteorology Forecasting Division.
The country receives almost eighty percent of its annual rainfall during the three months beginning mid-June and ending on the third week of September.
The annual rainfall is brought by the monsoon phenomenon that originates in Bay of Bengal, where the moisture laden wind from the Indian Ocean receives more moisture before proceeding further to India and entering Nepal from east and withdraws from west.
According to weathermen, June recorded high degree of rainfall deficit with only 60 per cent of the normal rainfall, whereas July and August saw rainfall 87 and 90 per cent of the normal respectively.
Not only in Nepal, some parts of India bordering Nepal have had to face the same fate and northwest states like Punjab and Rajasthan have already been declared as drought area.
Retired senior meteorologist Mani Ratna Shakya said that a special kind of weather effect in Pacific Ocean, termed as El-Nino, retarded the flow of monsoon cloud towards South Asia. “There was low pressure zone in the Pacific Ocean which slowed the movement of cloud towards South Asia and the cloud shifted toward the opposite direction due to favorable condition on that part,” Shakya said. “El-Nino is the major cause of weak monsoon in South Asia.”
As monsoon is a vague weather phenomenon with regional influences, climate experts are reluctant to attribute this year´s weak rainfall solely to the effects of climate change.
“Climate change may have played some roles to further weaken it," added Shakya.
Though on Wednesday Kathmandu recorded highest rainfall ever for the month of September, it doesn´t mean monsoon will get stronger in the next few days as only ten days remain for the official withdrawal of monsoon.
“There has been as intense rainfall in some parts of the country as in Kathmandu, but it doesn´t mean we can upgrade monsoon to a stronger category now,” said Shrestha of MFD. “This could probably be the last active phenomenon for this year which might last for a few more days,” added Shrestha.