Large parts of the India received robust pre-monsoon showers, but that is no sign, meteorologists say, that the monsoon is out of harm’s way.
A brewing El Nino has got substantially stronger, appearing on radars as fully formed for the first time since 2010, while a local weather pattern that can sap the monsoon is forming over the Arabian Sea.
An El Nino is a weather glitch marked by higher sea surface temperatures. Its effects can ripple around the world, from drier conditions in India to floods in Brazil.
The monsoon is critical as two-thirds of Indians depend on farm income and nearly half of the country’s farmland doesn’t have irrigation facilities.
Developments related to El Nino may not be all that surprising because it has been much talked about for a few months now. But to meteorologists, its current update is significant.
For the first time five years, all parameters for an El Nino have been reached.
“The Bureau of Meteorology’s latest update on the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on Wednesday confirms El Niño thresholds have been reached in the tropical Pacific for the first time since March 2010,” an update from the agency said. This means that although 2014 was an El Nino year, it was only weakly so.
Three of the world’s top forecasters, the US Climate Prediction Centre, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Japan Meteoroglogical Agency now agree with one another that El Nino thresholds have been reached.
Along with it, a depression-like system is taking off over the Arabian Sea, which could result in heavier pre-monsoon showers. Yet, it actually could harm the monsoon, rather than help it.
“If monsoon is to establish itself firmly in the Indian equatorial region, then this kind of a system should stop within a few days,” a Met official said. Neither a good “pre-monsoon” phase nor a timely start to the monsoon guarantees steady rains in the months to follow.