El Nino conditions ease, improving prospects for Indian monsoon

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 12, 2018

Australian Met marks down its outlook   

El Nino conditions are easing in the central and eastern tropical Pacific in the latest available indications that the Indian monsoon might just be able to shrug off its feared adverse impact on seasonal rains.

The ocean waters in the ‘suspect area’ in the Pacific have cooled over the last week or more, the Australian Bureau for Meteorology says in its latest El Nino update.

No strong event

Still, the establishment of El Nino before the year’s end cannot be ruled out. If it were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event, the Bureau added.

The atmosphere has largely failed to respond to the warming of the ocean waters to convert the El Nino into a full-fledged event, the Bureau stated. Most of the suspected area in the ocean has retuned neutral values.

The Bureau’s El Nino tracker has been marked down from ‘El Nino Alert’ to ‘El Nino Watch.’ This means the chance of El Nino developing in 2014 is approximately 50 per cent but is still at double the normal likelihood of the event.

Oceanic signals

As for the other ocean phenomenon, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which mimics El Nino-La Nina in the Indian Ocean, the IOD index has been below −0.4 °C (the negative IOD threshold) since mid-June.

But it needs to remain negative into August to be considered an event, the Bureau said. The negative IOD has been associated with a weaker Indian monsoon.

With this, the oceanic signals at home and away suggest increasingly favourable conditions for the Indian monsoon, which is now into the last phase of the second and by far the most productive month.

Pacific storm

Rainfall trends into early August suggest a status quo, but would need to be watched for signals for a sustained performance later into the month.

What goes to make the situation dicey is the initiation of the latest tropical storm Halong in the northwest Pacific, which is forecast to grow into a typhoon and head north-northeast towards Korea/Japan.

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Published on July 29, 2014
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