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El Niño, La Niña, and Their Impact on North and South India:



  Aug 14, 2023

El Nino,La Nina and India:North and South India Variation


1. What is El Niño and how does it impact monsoon rainfall in India?

El Niño is a climatic phenomenon characterized by the warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This warming disrupts the normal atmospheric circulation patterns, leading to significant weather changes around the world, including India.
 

2. What is the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)?

ENSO refers to the natural climate cycle that includes both El Niño and its opposite phase, La Niña. During El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean become unusually warm, affecting global weather patterns.
 

3. How does El Niño influence monsoon rainfall in India?

El Niño can disrupt the normal monsoon patterns in India. During El Niño, trade winds weaken and the usual monsoon circulation is disrupted. This can lead to reduced rainfall in some parts of India, particularly in North India, resulting in drought conditions.
 

4. Why does El Niño impact North India more than other regions?

El Niño's impact on different regions of India can vary due to the complex interplay of atmospheric and oceanic conditions. In North India, El Niño can weaken the monsoon circulation, resulting in decreased rainfall and drought. This is because El Niño affects the trade winds that bring moist air to North India during the monsoon season.
 

5. How does the monsoon trough influence rainfall in India?

The monsoon trough is a low-pressure area that extends from Pakistan to the Bay of Bengal. It plays a crucial role in the monsoon by carrying moist air and causing rainfall. Its position and strength can determine where the monsoon rains are concentrated.
 

6. How does climate change contribute to El Niño's impact?

Climate change has led to increased ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean. This warming can influence the formation of depressions, which are low-pressure systems that bring rainfall. In recent years, the number of depressions reaching Central India has decreased, affecting rainfall patterns.
 

7. What has been the historical trend in El Niño's impact on India's monsoon?

Recent studies have shown that the relationship between El Niño and monsoon rainfall is changing. While El Niño used to have a stronger impact on North India's rainfall, this relationship has weakened in recent decades. Other factors, such as warming in the Indian Ocean, are also becoming influential.
 

8. How does understanding regional variation in El Niño's impact help with forecasting?

Recognizing the varying impacts of El Niño in different regions of India is crucial for accurate monsoon forecasting. The weakening influence of El Niño on North India suggests that other factors, like Indian Ocean warming, should be closely monitored for predicting monsoon strength.
 

9. What is the current scenario with El Niño's formation and its impact on monsoon?

Currently, there is an El Niño forming in the Pacific Ocean. This El Niño is likely to strengthen in the coming months and could influence monsoon rainfall in August and September. Its impact on different regions of India will be monitored closely for accurate weather predictions.
 
In summary, El Niño's impact on monsoon rainfall in North India is influenced by its disruption of trade winds and weakening of the monsoon circulation. Climate change and other factors further complicate this relationship, emphasizing the need for accurate forecasting that considers regional variations in El Niño's impact.

Why does El Niño impact North India more than other regions?

El Niño's impact on different regions of India can vary due to the complex interplay of atmospheric and oceanic conditions. In North India, El Niño can weaken the monsoon circulation, resulting in decreased rainfall and drought. This is because El Niño affects the trade winds that bring moist air to North India during the monsoon season.
 
El Niño's impact on North India is influenced by several interconnected factors involving both atmospheric and oceanic conditions. Here's a more detailed breakdown of why El Niño affects North India more than other regions:
 

1. Monsoon Circulation Disruption:

During a normal monsoon, warm moist air from the Indian Ocean is drawn towards the Indian subcontinent due to low-pressure systems created by the intense heating of landmasses. This movement is facilitated by the monsoon trough, a low-pressure belt that extends from Pakistan to the Bay of Bengal. However, El Niño disrupts this circulation pattern.
 

2. Weakening of Trade Winds:

El Niño leads to a warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This warming alters the atmospheric circulation, causing the trade winds (prevailing winds blowing from east to west) to weaken or even reverse. The weakened trade winds reduce the transport of moisture-laden air towards India.
 

3. Influence on Indian Ocean Conditions:

El Niño's impact extends beyond the Pacific Ocean and affects the Indian Ocean as well. Warmer Pacific waters suppress the development of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a phenomenon that influences monsoon patterns in the region. A positive IOD tends to enhance the monsoon, and its suppression due to El Niño can lead to reduced rainfall.
 

4. Impact on Rainfall Distribution:

El Niño's disruption of the monsoon circulation results in altered rainfall patterns. In North India, particularly the northwest region including states like Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan, the weakening monsoon circulation means that these areas receive less rainfall than usual. This can lead to drought conditions and agricultural challenges.
 

5. El Niño's Influence on Subtropical Jet Stream:

El Niño can also affect the subtropical jet stream, which plays a role in steering weather systems. Its altered position due to El Niño can impact the timing and intensity of rainfall in different parts of India. This can further contribute to the uneven distribution of rainfall.
 

6. Varying Impacts in Different Regions:

While North India tends to experience decreased rainfall during El Niño, other parts of India might experience different effects. For instance, the southern parts of India may see an increase in rainfall due to shifts in atmospheric circulation.
 
In essence, El Niño's impact on North India is the result of a chain reaction that involves weakening trade winds, disruption of monsoon circulation, alteration of Indian Ocean conditions, and changes in the subtropical jet stream. This complex interplay results in decreased rainfall and drought conditions in North India during El Niño events.


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