El Nino has a strong impact on monsoons in India and it has been used to predict the kind of rainfall that can be expected in a year
The El Nino phenomenon may spell bad news for monsoons in India this year as it may intensify, according to latest weather forecast reports. El Nino is a natural phenomenon, wherein surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean see an unusual rise.
This event has a strong impact on monsoons in India and it has been used to predict the kind of rainfall that can be expected in a year. Warmer temperatures have coincided with low rainfall in India, while the opposite phenomenon of La Nina indicates a normal rainfall. El Nino impacts the summer monsoon negatively, which contributes 70 percent of India's annual rainfall.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said there is an 80 percent chance of El Nino prevailing in March-May, which will decrease to 60 percent during the June-August period.
"We have to wait till April or May to ascertain El Nino’s impact on the monsoon," DS Pai, Senior Scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, told Mint. "Once El Nino sets in, it continues for around 12-15 months and subsides in next pre-monsoon season. On some rare occasions, it may start late, gains strength and then decay before the monsoon onset. So, it could happen too," he stated.
Last year, NOAA was predicted that El Nino would form in October 2018, but it was only confirmed in February.
R Krishnan at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) said El Nino can keep developing over the next few months, but it is yet to be seen how it will intensify. He added that it generally peaks during winter season. Even a weak El Nino can reduce rainfall. India will most likely see temperatures 0.5 degrees warmer than normal, which will be experienced in the next three months.El Nino generally repeats in a two to seven years cycle, with a strong one every 10-15 years. But it has been seen that climate change has made it more frequent with five El Nino phenomenon since 2000. This year would be the sixth one.