Monsoon expected to last longer than usualSince June, 1,303 mm of rain has been recorded, which is 88.5 percent of the season’s average, according to the Met office.
Like during the previous years, the ongoing monsoon is likely to stay for several more days, as an immediate withdrawal is not in sight, according to the Meteorological Forecasting Division.
Generally, June 13 and October 2 are taken as the monsoon onset and exit dates in Nepal. This year, the monsoon entered the country on June 14, a day later than the average date.
“Even if we consider October 2 as the monsoon withdrawal date, that has not happened for the past several years,” said Pratibha Manandhar, a senior meteorologist at Division under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. “This year too, the monsoon withdrawal has been delayed as it will continue for several more days, possibly weeks and until the close of Dashain.”
Last year, the monsoon retreat happened only during the second week of October.
According to Manandhar, the ongoing rains will continue until Wednesday.
The low pressure area formed over the Bay of Bengal has been shifting to the northwest, which has caused the ongoing rainfall in the country.
“The cyclonic circulation formed over the Bay of Bengal is responsible for the current weather system,” said Manandhar.
Most places throughout the country witnessed rainfall on Monday afternoon. Officials at the division said that most parts of Koshi, Madhesh, Bagmati, Gandaki and Lumbini provinces witnessed rainfall on Monday afternoon. Heavy rainfall in some places has increased river flows.
Normally, the country receives an average of 1,472 mm rainfall in the four months of the monsoon—June, July, August and September. However, the country has witnessed only 1,303 mm rainfall since June, which is 88.5 percent of the season’s average, according to Bibhuti Pokharel, an information officer at the department.
“We will declare monsoon withdrawal after considering several parameters, including the existing system's withdrawal from the western part of the country that breaks the rainfall activity,” said Pokharel.
This year, the department had predicted a below-average rainfall for the monsoon season.
Officials said that most districts of the Tarai witnessed below-average rainfall this monsoon.
A lack of sufficient rainfall in the districts has not only impacted the cultivation of all arable lands, but also prevented farmers from planting crops on time. And this means agricultural yields are going to take a hit.
Like most farmers in Nepal, those in the Tarai depend heavily on rainfall due to a lack of irrigation infrastructure. And, rice cultivation needs a huge amount of water as the field has to be flooded throughout the growing season. A below-average rainfall in these areas this year will badly hit food production, experts say.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture said all indicators regarding the agricultural production are negative, except the availability of chemical fertilisers.
Experts say a reduction in agricultural production means a rise in inflation levels from which many people in the country get affected.
The agriculture census carried out in 2021 by the National Statistics Office showed that around 300,000 hectares of agricultural land was lost in a decade, officials said.
Nepal has been at the receiving end of the worst effects of the climate crisis and has witnessed multiple extreme weather
events over the past decade-and-a-half.
Evidence suggests that the maximum temperature in Nepal is rising faster, at 0.056 degrees Celsius a year, compared to the global average of 0.03 degrees.
Experts say extreme weather events—excessive rainfall in a short span of time, continuous rains for several days post-monsoon, dry spells and droughts, below-average precipitation and above-normal temperatures in winter— have become more frequent in Nepal in recent years.
Scores of studies and scientific analyses over the decade, and more recently, the IPCC report have warned that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, and it takes more than a business-as-usual approach to tackle the adverse impacts of the climate crisis.