Thursday, July 02, 2009
The monsoon has further 'advanced' into the remaining parts of Punjab and Haryana and isolated parts of north Rajasthan, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) update said on Wednesday.
The northern limit passed through Udaipur, Jaipur, Pilani, Hissar and Gangnagar.
The presence of a semi-permanent trough across the northwest border has been encouraging the movement of westerly troughs, says Dr Akhilesh Gupta, expert operational forecaster and Adviser with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The strong westerlies associated with the system are in turn seen interacting with a smattering of easterly flows over the plains bringing isolated heavy rainfall over the region during the past few days.
Isolated heavy rainfall has been forecast over Punjab, Haryana, east Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
But, unlike during a typical monsoon, the skies have invariably cleared up after the rains lifted.
The ongoing showers may last for two more days, following which the sun would start heating up the region.
This would continue until an anticipated anchor 'low' shows up over the head Bay of Bengal around July 7, which would send in stronger monsoon easterly flows along the east-to-west monsoon trough over the plains in the northwest.
Delhi and other parts of northwest India are expected to receive the 'real' monsoon showers two days, thereon, according to early model projections.
BUSY IN EAST
The IMD quoted current meteorological analysis and numerical weather prediction models to suggest widespread rainfall activity with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over east India and North-East India.
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim would witness heavy rains during the next two to three days and over north eastern States during the next four days.
Isolated extremely heavy falls exceeding 25cm have been forecast over Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
A persisting offshore trough extending from Konkan coast to Kerala coast will continue to cause widespread rainfall activity with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places along the west coast during the next 4-5 days.
Meanwhile, international weather models continued to indicate the prospects of passage of a Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) wave across the southwest and equatorial Indian Ocean in the next few days.
The MJO wave is expected to boost the ongoing monsoon over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
The monsoon is projected to be in an 'exalted' phase through mid-July when the peninsular seas would most probably be pulsating in unison with likely 'low's thrown in between
Rising sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean herald El Niño, which could disrupt the rains in major cereal producing regions, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has warned.
"Typically, an El Niño has the potential to disrupt the rainy seasons and cause lower rainfall in India, Australia, Southeast Asia - Philippines and Indonesia - southern Africa and Central America," said Robert Stefanski, a WMO scientific officer who works on agriculture-related weather and climate issues. "In past El Niño events, droughts have occurred and lowered food production in many of these regions."
In contrast, La Niña is the cooling of sea surface temperatures; both El Niño and La Niña are part of the normal climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean and occur once every four to seven years. According to WMO, "Recent changes are consistent with the early stages of a developing El Niño event in the second half of 2009."
A coming El Niño should be taken as an "early warning to potential problems related to food security, and this information is useful for agricultural decision-makers to plan for the upcoming season," said Stefanski.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre warned in early June that "the odds of an El Niño are now thought to be above 50 percent, which is more than double the normal risk of an El Niño in any year."
|A coming El Niño should be taken as an early warning to potential problems related to food security, and this information is useful for agricultural decision-makers to plan for the upcoming season|
The main impact of El Niño events usually occur in the second half of the year, when eastern, northern, and parts of southern Australia would face an increased risk of below-average rainfall and above-average daytime temperatures, the Bureau said. Australia is the world's fourth largest exporter of wheat.
"Any impact [of El Niño] on food production will be noticed after December 2009," said Liliana Balbi, a senior economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Information and Early Warning System.
In Australia, "planting of the 2009 main winter cereal crops has been completed successfully, with reports until late June indicating favourable prospects," she said.
The monsoons are late in India, the world's third largest wheat producer. "Historically, there has been a link between El Niño and the Indian monsoons," said Stefanski. Studies have shown that sea surface temperatures also affect this critical rainy season.
The tardy monsoon in parts of Southeast Asia has raised alarms of "potential food emergency problems, for example, in India," said Balbi. "In Pakistan, rains for the secondary rice season are also delayed." However, Sri Lanka has had a good harvest.
In Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea the main seasonal rains are out-of-step, and insufficient in parts of Kenya. Eastern Africa is already facing one of the worst food crises in recent times. "We are closely monitoring the relation of these developments with El Niño." In southern Africa, "the 2009 main maize season harvest has just been concluded, so we do not expect any immediate effects," said Balbi.
Not the last word
Stefanski noted that "There are many additional factors besides El Niño that determine the climate for the next three to six months in each region of the world."
Timely rain could limit the worst effects of El Niño to relatively small areas, as happened in 1997, when the event was intense. "We were anticipating one of the worst droughts for southern Africa, but it did not happen," he said.
The focus of the upcoming World Climate Conference Three (WCC-3) in Geneva, being organized by WMO from 31 August to 4 September 2009, is the use of climate information as an early warning tool - "climate prediction for decision-making".
"We have enough difficulty forecasting the economy and markets, so we are not about to delve into long run weather forecasts. But this story has popped up on Reuters and it notes that El Nino is "all but certain" this year. For Australia, this means an "all but certain" drought.
While farm output is a small share of GDP (about 2.5%), even a 20% fall in output will cut GDP by about 0.5 percentage points. Rural goods make up about 11% of exports, so a severe drought would hurt the trade accounts...
The drought shouldn't have a huge impact on RBA deliberations (even Glenn Stevens can't make it rain) but with the drought occurring at a time of recession elsewhere in the economy, the gloomy mood is likely to impact negative on the economy as a whole. At the margin, it adds to the case for lower interest rates. It may also weight on the AUD given a likely sharp deterioration in the trade accounts.
Reuters Story is below:
El Nino seems all but certain - Australia Met Bureau
* El Nino weather event may be declared within weeks
* Australia wheat crop, India sugar at risk from weak rains
* New El Nino update due July 8
By Bruce Hextall and Michael Perry
SYDNEY, July 2 (Reuters) - An El Nino weather pattern this year appears almost certain, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday in a revised forecast, raising the prospect of drought in Australia and a even weaker monsoon in India.
The odds for El Nino, an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that creates havoc in weather patterns across the Asia-Pacific region, had risen significantly since two weeks ago, when the bureau said there was a more than 50 percent chance.
"El Nino is a little bit like recession, you are in it before you can say you have one. If it continues as it is now, the historians will say the El Nino started in May," said David Jones, head of the bureau's climate analysis, told Reuters.
He said they could declare a full El Nino within weeks.
That's probably bad news for farmers in Australia who have sown near record acreage, and in India, which is already bracing for below-average monsoon rains, the lifeblood of the country's agriculture.
It would also have implications for commodity markets, potentially lifting wheat prices that have slumped over the past month on expectations of a bumper global harvest, and adding further fuel to soaring sugar prices that are already bracing for a second disappointing crop year from top consumer India.
Most of Australia's 2009/10 wheat crop has been planted following plentiful rain, leading to forecasts of a harvest of as much as 23 million tonnes, the best since 2005/06 when 25.2 million tonnes were harvested.
"The growers I speak to say if we were to get some rains in spring we could get above average yields. But if the El Nino forecast materialised, we are again at risk of having a sub-standard crop," said Richard Koch, managing director of farm advisory firm Profarmer.
Australia's grain production is still recovering from the worst drought in more than 100 years that cut the annual wheat harvest to as little as 10.6 million tonnes in 2006/07.
India's weather office last week cut its forecast for the June-September monsoon rains by 3 percentage points to 93 percent of normal, after four years of above average rainfall. From June 1 to June 24 rains were 54 percent below normal.
A severe El Nino spawns searing drought in countries in southeast Asia, harming rubber production, while causing heavy flooding in Peru, Ecuador and Chile, among others.
LITTLE CHANCE OF AVOIDING EL NINO
The bureau's latest report found that the eastern Pacific Ocean was continuing to warm, with sea temperatures one degree Celsius above normal, and trade winds were continuing to weaken.
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), calculated from monthly and seasonal fluctuations in air pressure between Tahiti and Darwin, remained at around negative 2, while the monthly value for May was negative 5.
A sustained negative SOI often indicates El Nino.
"A more complete picture of the situation in the Pacific will be available next week when the final June indices are calculated," said the report on http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/
The next report is due on July 8.
The Climate Prediction Center in the United States said in June that conditions were favourable for a switch to El Nino conditions during June to August.