Civil Services Exam 2016: You will be tested on Questions relating to the El Nino phenomena and its effect on the weather globally.
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Subject : ENVIRONMENT
El Nino Explained
El Nino refers to the heating up of water in the eastern pacific region which will have a cascading effect on the weather conditions across the world.
The words El Niño meansThe Little Boy, or Christ Child in Spanish. El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean. The name was chosen based on the time of year (around December) during which these warm waters events tended to occur.
The term El Niño refers to the large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate interaction linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.
Effect on Indian Monsoons
The Indian monsoon which besides India, also affects other regions of south and southeast Asia and Australia, is the most monetarily important because of its serious influence on the economy of India and neighboring countries. Apparently, the monsoon is directly linked to the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon due to which, in summer months, temperatures over much of India may rise to as high as 45 degrees Celsius, while the Indian Ocean is much cooler. Consequently, the warm air over the land rises and cooler moisture-bearing air blows in from the sea, bringing heavy rains to the region.
ENSO induced warm zones in the Pacific cause the warm air to rise and cause circulation cells. Such cells along northern Australia, Indonesia and the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean could have their downdraft sides over a nascent monsoon circulation cell in the Indian Ocean, which would disrupt its formation, causing poor monsoon rains all over the subcontinent. This Indian monsoon model thus implies that El Niño years should coincide with deficient monsoon rains. El Niño can cause floods, droughts, fires and epidemics around the world.
What Happens in an El Nino Year ?
The El Nino phenomenon is a part of a chain of meteorological events that extends from the eastern Pacific to northern Australia, Indonesia and into the heartland of India. ENSO induced warm zones in the Pacific cause the warm air over them to rise and initiate circulation cells. Such cells along northern Australia, Indonesia and the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean could have their downdraft sides over a nascent monsoon circulation cell in the Indian Ocean, which would disrupt its formation, causing poor monsoon rains over the subcontinent. El Nino years generally coincide with deficient monsoon rains.
Indian Ocean Dipole
There is an interesting effect called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), studied by Toshio Yamagata’s research group at JAMSTEC. The study found that when waters in the Indian Ocean towards Africa are unusually warm and the waters towards Indonesia are extremely cool, they form a dipole. This is called a positive dipole and a vice versa phenomenon results in a negative dipole. And when a negative dipole is coupled with an El Nino, there is a very high probability that India will face a drought! Sadly, there is a strong chance for occurrence of a negative IOD in the Indian Ocean. So, we can strongly expect a weak monsoon this time. Since, a majority of our agricultural production still depends on monsoons, a weak monsoon night have a trickle down effect and ultimately lead to food inflation.
Worst Indian Drought this year
A powerful El Nino, a weather glitch marked by higher sea temperatures, is blamed for what could be India’s worst drought in three decades, barring the one in 2009. The monsoon is now 16% deficient. To be sure, the meteorological department had forecast rains 12% below normal. Karnataka is the first state to declare a drought in almost the entire state. Almost half of Maharashtra remains parched, although the state hasn’t yet notified a drought. Over a third of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are under stress.
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