El Niño might upset monsoon this year

New Delhi (IANS) El Nino may make a comeback this year to upset the expectations of a good monsoon, according to the latest report by the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

El Nino is a climate cycle formed in the Pacific Ocean with an impact on weather patterns across the globe. The cycle begins when warm water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the equator towards the coast of South America.

NOAA forecasters have said that there is a 60 per cent chance of El Niño conditions continuing through June to August in India.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), however, maintained that neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are prevailing at present, indicating weak El Niño formation.

"El Nino was supposed to start at the end of last year but it was wrongly predicted. Currently there is a very weak prevalence of El Niño. Some models suggest that it would retain for the next two to three months, and only thereafter it will weaken. Even at this stage it is weak," D.S Pai, Scientist at IMD, Pune, told IANS.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Earth Sciences had said that there was no indication of El Nino developing and it wont have any impact on the upcoming monsoon.

"It is too early to talk about its impact on monsoon. May be around mid-April and May-end we will have a clear picture of El Nino's prevalence," Pai added.

El Nino forecasts, issued in December 2018 by the IMD for the January-February-March period this year, maintained that the Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs), which is the main indicator of the development of the phenomenon, would remain slightly warm over the central Pacific region.

Except for Kerala, all other sub-divisions in the southern peninsular regions -- Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema and South Interior Karnataka -- received poor rainfall from October to December last year. The northeast monsoon ended up 44 per cent deficient, one of the driest in recent years.

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