A warmer win­ter ahead due to El Nino, says IMD

GRIM Weather dept warns of in­creased drought con­di­tions

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Region - Shrini­vas Desh­pande shrini­vas.desh­pande@htlive.com ■

PUNE : The In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment (IMD), Pune, has pre­dicted a warmer win­ter and “in­creased drought con­di­tions” as a re­sult of El Nino, the pe­ri­odic weather phe­nom­e­non as­so­ci­ated with the warm­ing of sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the Pa­cific Ocean thought to be re­spon­si­ble for drought in In­dia and other parts of South Asia.

“El Nino refers to the cy­cle of warm tem­per­a­ture in ocean wa­ters be­cause of ra­di­a­tion. This will slowly move to­wards the Ara­bian Sea and sub­se­quently im­pact win­ter tem­per­a­tures. That means, this year we have to face a warmer win­ter than usual in In­dia,” AK Sri­vas­tava, who is the head of the cli­mate mon­i­tor­ing and anal­y­sis group at IMD, Pune, told Hin­dus­tan Times.

Sri­vas­tava de­clined to pre­dict the de­gree by which tem­per­a­tures will rise in the win­ter.

“We will re­lease a sep­a­rate fore­cast for win­ter tem­per­a­tures con­sid­er­ing the El Nino ef­fect in Novem­ber. But it should be slightly more than nor­mal tem­per­a­tures as com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year,” he said.

The weather pat­tern’s pos­si­ble emer­gence and its im­pact on the north-west mon­soon is an an­nual

cause of con­cern for pol­i­cy­mak­ers in In­dia, where 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. El Nino is part of a nat­u­ral process, char­ac­terised by a warm­ing in the Pa­cific Ocean, with reper­cus­sions across the globe, in­clud­ing higher tem­per­a­tures and drought in some parts, Sri­vas­tava said.

To be sure, the IMD’s fore­casts have proved to be in­ac­cu­rate in the past. For this year,the agency had fore­cast a nor­mal mon­soon, pro­ject­ing rain­fall countrywide at 97% of the long pe­riod av­er­age, but recorded a 9.4% short­fall.

Sri­vas­tava said 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.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the El Nino for­ma­tion process was also re­spon­si­ble for higher tem­per­a­tures in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber. The low rain­fall at the end of the mon­soon was di­rectly re­lated to in­creas­ing drought-re­lated con­di­tions, he said.

An­other sci­en­tist, DS Pai, head of the IMD’s Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Group, said the ef­fect of El Nino will be felt in the win­ter in In­dia. “El Nino has not set­tled yet. Once it set­tles, it will show an im­pact by Novem­ber/De­cem­ber,” he said.

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