NASA’s data rules out La Nina: What should India expect?

The forecast that India will receive excess rainfall this year appears to have gone wrong.
NASA’s data rules out La Nina: What should India expect?
NASA’s data rules out La Nina: What should India expect?
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On Wednesday, NASA’s satellite data ruled out the possibility of La Nina later this year followed by the El Nino which ended in May going by their satellite data.

"We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Nina or El Nino later this year," said Steven Pawson, Chief of Global Modelling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). 

Historically, some of the larger El Nino events are followed by La Nina events and the same trend was predicted this time too by weather scientists. Just like other El Nino years, India, in 2015-16, suffered drought in most areas (spread across 10 states) which are dependent on only rainfall and are places with poor irrigation. El Nino characteristically dried up the South West monsoon. The previous El Nino in 2009-2010 caused sugar prices to soar to its highest in 30 years.

With the possibility of La Nina, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and other agencies had forecast an above-normal South-West monsoon after two years of monsoon deficits. This was expected to help boost the economy too.

However, despite the forecasts of excess rather than normal rain, India has received 5% less than normal rainfall till Sunday (with speculation if the IMD will revise its estimate).

Now, that La Nina is out of the fray what should India expect?

Pradeep John, a 33-year-old blogger who has been running his Facebook page “Tamil Nadu Weatherman” for the last three years said NASA’s model is based on a sea surface index.

“If it is below 0.8 degrees we call it La Nina, if it is above 0.8 degrees, it is El Nino,” John explained. “As it is neutral, there are other parameters to predict the remaining part of the monsoon, we have to see how this neutral region affects the monsoons. But there will be a deviation from the estimates,” he said.

“In 2005, it was neutral and we got good rains. But this year, the northern states will get good rains, along with some other parts of India also especially in Mumbai,” John added. 

YK Reddy, Director of the Meteorological Centre Hyderabad, said, “La Nina is associated with more than normal rainfall. Absence of La Nina can only be read as normal to sub-normal rainfall.” He also said that "nothing more" can be predicted at the moment.

Dr Pai, a top scientist with Climate Services Division of the IMD in Pune refused to comment on the matter without further analysis until October 15.

(With IANS inputs)

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