In what could be some bad news for India in this monsoon season, the US government weather agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has said that El Nino conditions could return this year.
El Nino is a weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean that occurs every three to six years, involving the warmer ocean water spreading further and closer to the surface, often increasing extreme weather events.
El Niño is expected to begin within the next couple of months and persist through the Northern Hemisphere spring and early summer, NOAA said on Thursday, the second such prediction in two months.
In January, NOAA had forecasted a high chance of El Nino conditions in August, but its latest prediction said the weather phenomenon could start as early as June, which coincides with the monsoon season in India.
The weather becomes warmer due to El Nino and cooler due to La Nina. Both usually last for 9-12 months but can last for several years in exceptional cases. The effect of both of these can be seen in India.
In the El Nino effect, the sea surface temperature becomes much higher than normal, which can be 4 to 5 degrees Celsius higher than normal. El Nino is a part of the climate system, and it profoundly affects the weather. Due to its arrival, there is an effect on the weather worldwide.
In the La Nina effect, the sea surface temperature drops significantly, directly affecting the temperature around the world and the temperature becomes colder than average. La Nina typically leads to cooler weather in the northwest and warmer weather in the southeast. During this period in India, it is very cold and the rains are also moderate.
The last El Nino event was in 2018, which coincided with below-normal rainfall in India.
This was followed by La Nina, which saw above-average monsoons in India in the following years.
The warming of the ocean due to El Nino could cause the wind patterns, which play a crucial role in determining the annual monsoon, to change, resulting in less rain.
While NOAA made its second forecast about El Nino this summer, in two months, D Sivananda Pai, director of the Institute for Climate Change Studies in Kottayam, said a clearer picture is likely to emerge only by April or May because conditions in the Pacific change during spring.
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