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El Nino may be ending, says Australian Met Bureau

Vinson Kurian
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Is the Pacific suddenly turning favourable towards Indian monsoon?

This is the million-dollar question cropping up after the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has come up with a blinder of a breaking news.

The Bureau is now saying that the El Nino in the Pacific may be ending and the basin is now trending towards alter ego La Nina.

But the Bureau had earlier in the day detected a monsoon ''blocker" within India's own territorial waters in the form of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).

According to latest updates available, the Bureau says the El Nino process may be ending, if not ended already.

In what looks like an astonishing flip-over in the Pacific, the trends indicate to a developing La Nina in which the east of the basin cools and the west warms up.

A La Nina has been traditionally believed to be a supporting phenomenon for the Indian monsoon.

The moot question now is - can a favourable Pacific salvage the monsoon when conditions are bad in the Indian Ocean?

The answer could come up in the second long-range forecast being issued by India Met Department in a few hours from now.

Earlier in the day, the Australian Bureau had said that an unfriendly weather pattern seemed to be emerging in the Indian Ocean with implications for the monsoon.

It was referring to the negative IOD, signs of development of which it had picked up. IOD mimics the larger El Nino-La Nina of the Pacific in India's own backyard.

When the IOD is negative, east Indian Ocean (below Bay of Bengal) warms up anomalously. The warmer waters here will lead to usurping locally of moisture that is headed towards the west Indian Ocean.

This in turn leads to the 'disarming' of the monsoon flows in the west where they turn southwesterly and get directed towards south Arabian Sea and the Kerala coast.

The IOD index may already have started dipping to the 'negative' as per the June 1-update of Bureau.

When acting in concert with a building El Nino in the Pacific, the net impact on monsoon would be larger than expected.

(This article was published on June 9, 2014)
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