Monsoon forecast 2016: As El Nino recedes, chance of La Nina at 50 pct

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Published: April 12, 2016 11:53:11 PM

The chance of a La Nina in 2016 has increased in recent weeks, with climate models indicating a 50 percent possibility of the weather event emerging this year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday.

India monsoonIn India, specifying the reasons for deficit monsoons all these years, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that analysis of data suggests that El Nino conditions (irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes) over equatorial Pacific Ocean kept the rainfall below normal in Indian peninsula. (Reuters)

The chance of a La Nina in 2016 has increased in recent weeks, with climate models indicating a 50 percent possibility of the weather event emerging this year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday.

The potential emergence of a La Nina comes as the strongest El Nino in nearly 20 years – which has been linked to serious crop damage, forest fires and flash floods – begins to subside.

La Nina is the opposite of the El Nino weather event that is  characterized by warmer waters in the tropical Pacific. While a La Nina can be less damaging than El Nino, severe La Ninas are also linked to floods, droughts and hurricanes.

“Recent changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere, combined with current climate model outlooks, suggest the likelihood of La Nina in 2016 has increased to around 50 percent,” the BOM said.

The bureau had previously indicated that a strong El Nino weather pattern would likely end in the second quarter of 2016 and a La Nina could follow.

In India, specifying the reasons for deficit monsoons all these years, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said that analysis of data suggests that El Nino conditions (irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes) over equatorial Pacific Ocean kept the rainfall below normal in Indian peninsula.

Thus, El Nino conditions that peaked last December and which have been on weakening track since then are the primary reason for the likely increase in the South-west monsoon.

Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik said “El Nino condition is declining. It is expected that La Nina condition will takeover and will perhaps favour a good monsoon this year.”

Analysts say a La Nina could impact the supply of global grains, particularly wheat and corn – where the United States is the largest exporter of both crops. The weather event is associated with lower-than-average rainfalls over North America.

While global supplies are ample as of now, the only thing that could change that “would be a possible La Nina”, said Phin Ziebell, agribusiness economist, National Australia Bank.

Benchmark wheat prices fell to a more than five-year low last month and corn prices hit a 9-1/2-month low amid large world supplies.

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