Explained: El Niño could be losing steam; why this is good newshttps://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-el-nino-could-be-losing-steam-and-this-is-good-news-weather-monsoon-5827358/

Explained: El Niño could be losing steam; why this is good news

El Nino is a condition wherein the surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America, become unusually warm. Its opposite condition, when it becomes unusually cold, is termed, La Nina.

A woman walks in the rain with a plastic covering her head in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, July 11, 2019. India receives its monsoon rains from June to September. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

A weak El Nino prevailing in the Pacific Ocean since the start of this year is beginning to dissipate. Over the next two months, a fully neutral condition is likely to be restored in the Pacific Ocean, according to the latest bulletin issued by the Climate Prediction Centre of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US.

While the weak warming condition continues to be present as of now, it had begun to decrease, the bulletin said. “SST (sea-surface temperature) anomalies across most of the eastern Pacific decreased during the month… Overall, oceanic and atmospheric conditions were consistent with a weakening El Niño,” it said.

“A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is expected in the next month or two, with ENSO-neutral most likely to continue through Northern Hemisphere fall and winter,” it said.

What is El Nino and why does it matter?

El Nino is a condition wherein the surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America, become unusually warm. Its opposite condition, when it becomes unusually cold, is termed, La Nina. The two conditions influence weather events worldwide, including the Indian monsoon. El Nino is known to suppress rainfall during the monsoon months.

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Why a weak El Nino is good for India?

The beginning of dissipation of El Nino is good news for India which is hoping to get good rainfall in the remaining part of the monsoon season after a deficient first month. In June, rainfall in India had been 32 per cent below normal, though it was not on account of El Nino which has remained weak since it developed at the start of the year. But a continuing El Nino, even if weak, could be a cause for concern for the remaining season as well.

As of now, the cumulative deficit in the rainfall this monsoon season for the country as a whole is 12 per cent. The last couple of weeks, though, have brought good rainfall in many parts of the country. Overall, rainfall in the last week was 28 per cent above normal.