The outlook by Skymet should help allay concerns of farmers who have already been hit hard by unseasonal rains earlier this year and have been on edge ever since the government forecast what could be India's first drought in six years.

Skymet, which says its predictions have been correct for the past three years, forecast rains at 102 percent of the long-term average over the June-September monsoon season, versus Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD's) 88 percent.

 "The El Nino threat remains, we do not deny that," Skymet's chief meteorologist, G P Sharma, said. "But the positive IOD effect could bail us out."

Partly due to the emergence of an El Nino, or the rise of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific that lead to dry weather in Asia, India's monsoon rains this year arrived five days later than expected on Friday.

Sharma is, however, hopeful that a "positive IOD" this year will slightly offset the impact of an El Nino.

 The IOD phenomenon is characterised by higher sea-surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean.

 A positive IOD creates a barrier in the eastern Indian Ocean and all the southwesterly winds blow towards the Indian sub-continent, causing rains there but leading to droughts in parts of Indonesia and Australia, according to Skymet.

In the years 1967, 1977, 1997 and 2006, a positive IOD brought adequate rains to India despite the emergence of an El Nino, Sharma said.

Some IMD officials, however, said chances of a positive IOD were slim and that El Nino was gaining ground. In 2009, an El Nino contributed to India's worst drought in four decades.

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