Weak El Nino conditions developing in the Pacific this winter: IMD

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 03, 2018

El Nino brings drought condition. | Photo Credit: handout

Above-normal low temperatures in winter may impact wheat crop

There is a strong possibility of weak El Nino conditions developing during the current winter season as equatorial sea surface temperatures across most the Pacific Ocean show an increasing trend, according to a forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

“There is a definite mild El Nino -- above 0.5 degree warming -- in the western Pacific Ocean. But, the atmosphere has so far not started responding to the sea temperature changes yet. However, we have to see how these conditions will develop post-February,” IMD director general K J Ramesh told BusinessLine on Monday. “We all will be closely watching how the situation develops. In fact the global community is concerned about the development as different countries get impacted differently by the abnormal warming in the Pacific Ocean,” he said. In India, a strong El Nino is linked to abnormal dry spells in the following monsoon season.

The IMD also forecast that the ongoing winter season would be slightly warmer than usual in most parts of the country barring a few hilly regions. “The forecast suggests that above normal minimum temperatures (above 0.5 degree Celsius) are most likely over most of subdivisions of the country except Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the north, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the north east, Odisha in the east and Chhattisgarh in Central India where normal (between 0.5 and -0.5 degree Celsius) seasonal minimum temperatures are most likely to prevail,” IMD said in a statement.

“It is not expected to have any impact on rabi crop as the anomaly is not crossing one degree Celsius,” said the IMD DG. Higher warmer weather during winter months is a concern as wheat, the mainstay of the rabi season, is highly vulnerable to a rise in temperature.

Ramesh, however, said that there is only less than 40 per cent probability of above normal minimum temperature prevailing in the core cold wave zone during November 2018-January 2019. Core cold wave zone covers all of northern, central and eastern States and some parts of western States in the country.

This is coming in the wake of a below-par South West monsoon, which delivered 9 per cent less rainfall than usual. Some of agriculturally important States such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Bihar have already been hit by deficient rains. Even the North East monsoon, which brings rains to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and parts of Karnataka, too is lacklustre this year.

Published on December 03, 2018
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