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Weather agencies predict return of La Nina in the monsoon season

The La Nina conditions - cooling of the Pacific - may appear first in June, but are likely to be prominent in August and September
Last Updated 22 March 2024, 18:49 IST

New Delhi: Multiple weather agencies across the globe have predicted a return of the La Nina during the monsoon period as last year’s El Nino that triggered a less-than-normal rainfall for some months, has almost gone away.

The La Nina conditions - cooling of the Pacific - may appear first in June, but are likely to be prominent in August and September, according to multiple global weather models, raising the hopes of a bountiful monsoon.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Centre, there is 83% chance of a transition of El Nino (warming of the Pacific) to ENSO neutral by April-June with the odd favouring (62% chance) development of La Nina conditions between June-August.

“The El Nino is gone and a cold phase is coming. This raises the prospect of a good monsoon. We can rule out the chance of a dry-patch in the upcoming monsoon season. A better picture will emerge by May,” M Rajeevan, former Secretary, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and one of India’s foremost weather scientists, told DH.

Last year, the worst impact of the El Nino – an unusual warming of the Pacific that played havoc with the weather systems around the world – was seen in August that experienced a record-breaking 36% deficiency and a break period that continued for three weeks.

But fortunately the season ended with 94% rainfall following a late revival of the monsoon in September, thanks to a local climatic factor known as Indian Ocean Dipole.

“This year, the situation can be like 1987-88 when an El nino year was followed by a La Nina year. Most of the models are showing a high probability of La Nina,” Rajeevan said.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific were expected to return to the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation)-neutral condition later in autumn 2024. The warming of the Pacific is weakening in coastal Peru and Indonesia hopes for less forest fire due to a weakening El Nino.

In February 2024, the sea surface temperature anomalies continued to weaken across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean and in the second week of March, below-average sea surface temperature emerged in a small region of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, the US agency said.

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(Published 22 March 2024, 18:49 IST)

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