Keeping a close watch on expected monsoon this year and how it will possibly affect the farmer community, the Climate Prediction Centre of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that El Nino, which typically peaks in January and February is set to weaken by June, raising hopes for a normal monsoon this year.
According to meteorologists, a trend that is noticed after an El Nino year is La Nina condition, which leads to better rainfall activity. “This year, better rainfall activity is predicted,” said JV Kulkarni, senior meteorologist from Pune who retired from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and is presently a member of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), adding, “Over the last 43 years, it has been observed that there has been six instances wherein La Nina has followed El Nino the very next year, leading to improvement in rainfall.”
El Nino and La Nina conditions are basically the sea surface temperatures in the Pacific ocean along the equator becoming warmer or cooler than normal and these anomalies are the hallmark of El Nino and La Nina climate cycles which influence the weather patterns across the globe. The cycle is natural while El Nino brings about the warm phase, La Nina is the cold phase of the cycle.
“The NOAA has specified that the output of 16 models_10 dynamic models and six statistic models_will see the monsoon neutralising by June and bringing in normal or even excess rainfall. This is based on one of the parameters —the sea surface temperatures cooling down, as last year it was warming up,’’ said Kulkarni. He said there are many other parameters that also play a role but this is by far, the important one.
Assessing the data of El Nino conditions, Kulkarni said, “From 1972 to 2010, we notice that the La Nina conditions have occurred the very next year after El Nino. There have been six such instances and this year, we may see the same.”
He said that the La Nina conditions starts in May-June and the monsoon should be above normal. According to the Climate Prediction Centre outlook it has been stated that El Niño is expected to remain strong through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during late spring or early summer 2016. A strong El Niño continued during November as indicated by well above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a strong El Niño episode that has matured. Most models indicate that a strong El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, followed by weakening and a transition to ENSO-neutral during the late spring or early summer.