Global alert for La Nina; high chances of increased rainfall

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Global weather forecasters have issued a La Nina alert, indicating high chances of rainfall in India. This will further increase monsoon rainfall and boost India’s rural economy with a record harvest.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) raised its El Niño-Southern Oscillation Outlook to La Niña ALERT status, meaning the chance of a La Niña occurring this year has increased to 70 per cent, roughly three times the normal likelihood. Chances of La Nina, which is associated with cooling of the Pacific Ocean waters, have increased to 70% from 50%, the widely respected Australian weather office said in its latest update on the phenomenon.

The La Nina phenomenon is associated with cooling of waters in the equatorial Pacific region and strengthening of trade winds, a combination that strengthens rain-bearing clouds in South Asia. “Climate models suggest that further ocean cooling and intensification of Trade Winds may occur over the coming months, which has triggered the Bureau to shift from a La Nina Watch, issued on 26 June, to a La Nina Alert,” said Andrew Watkins BOM’s manager of climate operations.

India’s national weather office expects the phenomenon to affect the entire country and cause post-monsoon showers as well. “A weak La Nina seems likely in late September, and we might see its effects even after the monsoon has concluded,” D. S. Pai, head of long-range forecasting at the India Meteorological Department, told the Economic Times.

Monsoon rainfall so far has been above normal in most parts of the country except the Himalayan states in northern India. Good monsoon rain expected towards the end of the June-September season will cheer farmers and boost rural demand for consumer products, it is hoped.

The agriculture ministry expects a record harvest from the summer-sown, or kharif crops. This will be big boost for the rural economy as farmers have recently gained from a record rabi, or winter-sown harvest, for which procurement prices were increased. Currently, monsoon rainfall across the country is slightly above its normal levels at 104% since the season started on June 1 this year. Rain clouds are expected to be active across India except for parts of northeast India in the coming two weeks, IMD has said.

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