After adversely impacting the Southwest Monsoon in 2014 and 2015, weather models indicate resurfacing of El-Nino, a private weather forecasting agency Skymet on Sunday claimed, sparking fears of weak a rainfall season ahead.
Jatin Singh, CEO of Skymet said usually, an El-Nino is followed by La-Nina that is invariably related with good Monsoon rains. La Nina, which is currently on, is associated with cooling of Pacific waters. El-Nino is associated with warming of Pacific waters.
In December, all weather models were suggesting that weak La-Nina conditions will continue during early 2017 and by April or May, neutral conditions may develop. Going by this prediction, India in 2017 would have witnessed either a normal Monsoon or above normal rains. Weather models indicate that by mid-January, most of them have started indicating towards resurfacing of El-Nino.
As per this latest outlook for El-Nino, the sea surface temperatures(SST) in the tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to increase in a span of six months, Singh said. However, in contrary to El-Nino conditions, there is another factor, that influences the performance of, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), plays a vital role Southwest Monsoon.
According to meteorologists, the positive IOD is linked with good Monsoon rains, while the negative IOD has adverse effect on the same. Singh said, as of now, weather models are suggesting thatIOD is likely to remain positive during the upcoming Monsoon season. "But we have to wait and watch up to how much extent willIOD be able to neutralise the effect of the expected evolvingEl-Nino," he said, adding models indicate the East Pacific waters are cold, but the West Pacific have shown a slight warming.
However, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said it is too early to comment on the occurrence of El-Nino. IMD Director General K J Ramesh said, "the La-Nina phase is still on and it would be too early to comment on this.There are several other factors that impact monsoon."
The most prominent droughts in India, eight of them,since1871 have been El-Nino triggered droughts, including the recent ones that occurred in 2002, 2009, 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, it is important to note that all El-Nino years do not lead to drought in India. The year 1997-98 is a stark reminder as it was a strong El-Nino year. However, it did not cause drought in India, in fact, rainfall was in excess. On the other hand, a moderate El-Nino in 2002 resulted in one of the worst droughts.