Normal monsoon expected as Australian Bureau of Meteorology rules out El Niño phenomenon

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In a major boost for the Indian monsoon season, the highly respected Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has ruled out the likelihood of the El Niño phenomenon disrupting the rains in the next six months.

Meteorologists say that a low probability of El Niño is certainly good news for the monsoon, although the complex weather system depends on many other factors.

If the June-September monsoon is normal, farmers struggling with supply disruptions during the second wave of Covid-19 can expect a good summer harvest, which would increase economic sentiment for the India and rural demand for goods including two-wheelers, gold, consumer goods, cars and tractors.

According to private forecaster Skymet, the six most severe droughts in India (from 1871 to the most recent in 2002 and 2009) were triggered by El Niño. However, in 1997 a strong El Niño did not cause drought but brought additional rainfall.

“El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. The outlook for climate models shows that this neutral ENSO state is expected to continue for at least the next six months,” said the BOM bi-monthly update, released Tuesday.

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon refers to the warming of surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The warm conditions of ENSO result in drier weather and therefore reduced precipitation.

2019 and 2020 saw the prevalence of La Nina conditions which, unlike El Nino, results in excessive rainfall for the Indian subcontinent. Monsoon rains were 10% above normal in 2019 and 9% above normal last year.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first stage forecast released last month that they expected a normal monsoon at 98% of the long-standing average. An update of the forecasts is expected in the coming days.


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