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La Nina unfolding, say Japanese scientists

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Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram, June 14

Japanese scientists are of the view that a La Nina phenomenon may have already started unfolding in the equatorial Pacific.

La Nina is the exact reverse of El Nino, and has been traditionally associated with a good monsoon for India, though without direct cause-effect relationship.

To put this in perspective, the country faced the worst drought in three decades last year when an El Nino was in full swing in the Pacific.

In line with its La Nina outlook, the Tokyo-based Research Institute for Global Change (RIGC) has said that India would join a few other nations to be bracketed along for a watch on near-flooding rains in parts of the country.

RIGC was the first international forecasting centre that hinted at the possibility of a likely La Nina unfolding as early as March this year.

According to Dr Jing-Jia Luo, Senior Scientist at the Climate Variation Predictability and Applicability Research Programme at the RIGC, the La Nina would rapidly go on to become a ‘fairly strong' phenomenon.

It is likely to continue into early next year, Dr Jing-Jia informed Business Line.

Indonesia and parts of Australia, northeast Brazil, East Africa and India would experience enhanced rains or even floods from July onwards extending early into the winter, the RIGC outlook said.

Central India may lag

The only exception to the normal or above-normal rainfall outlook during June-July-August seems to be central and east-central India – mainly parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand.

But the deficit is forecast to be covered to some extent during September-October-November when the rains are projected to be widespread across the country.

But a slight bias for comparatively weaker rainfall is loaded against east-central India.

Disaggregated forecasts for individual months of July, August and September were more revealing, in the context of the likely impact from the La Nina.

July would bring less than normal rainfall for central India and adjoining west coast (including north Konkan-Mumbai).

But south peninsular India, especially to the east, is forecast to witness enhanced rainfall during this month.

As for August, chances are that the west coast and central India would manage to make some belated gains; but this may not be the case with east-central India. North-west India is apparently shown receiving adequate rainfall during the month, but not to the north of northwest (Punjab-Haryana belt). September would likely see almost the entire country benefiting from a maturing La Nina; once again eat-central India may have to sit out with comparatively lower rainfall.

Meanwhile, the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society at Columbia University has extended the ‘flood warning' for most of the peninsula during June 12 to 17.

The IRI also indicated that the area of maximum rainfall is about to move north from Kerala and coastal Karnataka progressively to south Konkan, Goa, north Konkan and southwest Gujarat.

The IRI has selected a west-to-east patch cutting a narrow path into interior peninsula around the 17 degree North latitude (southwest Maharashtra) for exceptionally heavy rains.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in an update on Monday that the monsoon has further advanced into more parts of Konkan, Goa, Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada; some parts of Vidarbha; most parts of Telangana; parts of Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Gangetic West Bengal; and entire coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The northern limit passed through Mumbai, Aurangabad, Adilabad, Jagdalpur, Phoolbani, Keonjhargarh, Burdwan, Malda and Gangtok.

The IMD assessed that conditions are favourable for its further advance into remaining parts of central Arabian Sea; some parts of north Arabian Sea and south Gujarat; remaining parts of Maharashtra; parts of Madhya Pradesh and more parts of Chhattisgarh; remaining parts of Orissa and West Bengal and parts of Jharkhand and Bihar during next three days.

It has warned of isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over the North-Eastern States; Konkan, Goa, coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep; the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Orissa, West Bengal and Sikkim during the next two days.

The ‘low' over west-central Bay of Bengal has weakened as forecast by the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 15, 2010)
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