El Nino worries ease, robust monsoon likely: IMD

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Courtesy: FAO

Worries over El Nino conditions have eased and there are indications of another year of robust monsoon rains, according to the latest assessment by the country’s weather office.

Officials in the India Meteorological Department said El Nino conditions have weakened considerably and the assessment is that this is unlikely to pose any threat to the southwest monsoon which waters over half of India’s farmland.

“The El Nino conditions appear to have weakened considerably. It is unlikely to last long and we don’t think it will have any major impact,” said an IMD official on condition of anonymity. He said the weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean though have to be under watch for some time.

A scare for the country’s crucial monsoon appeared on the horizon late last month after US weather agencies forecast a 60% chance of El Nino continuing through the summer.

El Nino is an abnormal warming of ocean waters in the east and central equatorial Pacific which has the potential to impact weather patterns across the world, including the July-September southwest monsoon rains in India, as moisture and heat content gets limited and results in reduction and uneven distribution of rainfall. 

The fear generated by reports of a developing El Nino event was keeping weather watchers in India on the tenterhooks as it is feared that it may lead to a drought here, like in 2002, when it coincided with a strong El Nino. With the onset of the monsoon over a narrow patch on the western coast of India, the sowing season is expected to be in full swing by July.

Since February, many global weather agencies have warned of an El Nino event developing early, but there was no confirmation on when and whether there will be a full-fledged El Nino. IMD will unveil its official monsoon forecast next week after it gets a go-ahead from the Election Commission. “We have sought approval to announce the monsoon forecast. We are awaiting both the EC and government go-ahead,” an IMD official said adding final touches were being given to the report.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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