- The India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune has predicted a warmer winter and “increased drought conditions” over India owing to El-Nino.
- IMD has predicted a warmer winter than usual in India in 2018, however the degree by which temperatures will rise is not clear.
- According to IMD, the process of formation of the El Nino has been underway in the past few months, because of which rainfall was low during the end of the June to September monsoon period.
- The El Nino formation process was also responsible for higher temperatures in September and October and low rainfall at the end of the monsoon was directly related to increasing drought-related conditions.
- So, in that line the effect of El Nino will be felt in the winter in India. Once El Nino settles, it will show an impact by November/December 2018.
- About El-Nino:
- El Nino is a natural periodic weather phenomenon associated with the warming of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator, off the coast of South America.
- During El Niño, the trade winds weaken, which lets the warm water that is usually found in the western Pacific flow eastwards. This warm water displaces the cooler water that is normally found near the surface of the eastern Pacific, setting off atmospheric changes that affect weather patterns in many parts of the world.
- Effects:In South America, there is a drastic increase in the risk of flooding on the western coast, while there is an increase in the risk of droughts on parts of the eastern coast.
- In eastern countries, like India and Indonesia, there is an increase in droughts.
- Impact on winter temperature: El-Nino which is the cycle of warm temperature in ocean waters (because of radiation) slowly moves towards the Arabian Sea and subsequently impacts winter temperatures in India.
- Concerns over IMD forecast:
- The IMD’s forecasts have proved to be inaccurate in the past. E.g. For 2018,the agency had forecast a normal monsoon, projecting rainfall countrywide at 97% of the long period average, but recorded a 9.4% shortfall in rain.
- Concern for policymakers:
- The weather pattern’s possible emergence and its impact on the north-west monsoon is an annual cause of concern for policymakers in India.
- This is because 60% of the crop area lacks assured irrigation.
- The summer-sown Kharif crop, which accounts for half of India’s foodgrain output, is particularly dependent on monsoon rainfall.