India may see good monsoon as El Nino predicted weak

India can expect higher monsoon rainfall this year than the patchy rains that affected farm output last season, going by a Reuters report.

While there is no official announcement from the India Meteorological Department so far, the report cites IMD sources as saying the prediction is based on the fact that the El Nino weather pattern is in a "neutral" phase.

The El Nino effect is marked by a warming of sea surface temperature on the Pacific Ocean, and has a considerable effect on the Indian summer rains (See: Indian Ocean patterns to reveal onset of El Nino).

El Nino can lead to drought in Southeast Asia and Australia and heavy rains in South America, hitting production of food such as rice, wheat and sugar. The Australian weather bureau on Tuesday forecast that the chance of an El Nino developing this year had risen to about 50 per cent.

The IMD has already shared its current outlook with the government and is expected to come out with another assessment of El Nino in April, according to the report.

India's monsoon was hit by an El Nino in 2009 when the four-month long season turned out to be the driest in nearly four decades.

India's agriculture sector remains largely rain-fed, except in areas where groundwater is pumped out mercilessly.

(Also see: What is the El Nino?)