There is no threat of El Nino in the upcoming monsoon, said M Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, recently in Pune. El Nino is the abnormal warming of the east and central Pacific Ocean that negatively affects normal weather all over the globe. Previous incidents of El Nino have shown negative influence on the Indian monsoon, with rainfall remaining deficient and at times resulting in drought-like situations in the country.
“Our observations suggest that El Nino is not developing and at present, we need not worry about it or its impact on the upcoming monsoon. Though we are closely observing it, it’s only to check if the phenomenon is growing into an intense one,” said Rajeevan.
Since April last year, the Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) — the main indicators of development of El Nino — had started to turn neutral from previously prevailing cooler SST conditions, termed as La Nina. These neutral conditions persisted till the end of the monsoon season over India. Subsequently, though the atmospheric conditions reflected El Nino-like conditions, the SSTs recorded from the ocean did not show any significant change till date, meteorologists said.
Though moderate, El Nino did have an impact towards the end of August, leaving the country nine per cent short of normal rainfall. Moreover, greater impact of this warming was observed on the northeast monsoon over the southern states last winter.
Except for Kerala, all other sub-divisions in the southern peninsular regions — Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema and South Interior Karnataka, received poor rainfall from October to December last year. The northeast monsoon ended up 44 per cent deficient, one of the driest in recent years.
El Nino forecasts, issued in December by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for January-February-March period this year, maintain that the SSTs would remain slightly warm over the central Pacific region. Whereas, warmer than normal SSTs are expected along the equatorial Pacific region.