Saturday, July 25, 2009

lesser known north-east monsoon

A La Nina, the oposite of an El Nino, is generally beneficial for the south-west monsoon but could it weaken the north-east monsoon?

As the south-west monsoon draws to a close, the direction of the surface winds change and the stage is set for the north-east monsoon. Much of the country is heavily dependent on the south-west monsoon for most of its annual rainfall. However, many parts of southern India also receive considerable rain from the north-east monsoon. Tamil Nadu, in particular, typically gets nearly half its annual rain during this monsoon. In fact, as much as 60 per cent of the rain that t he State’s coastal regions receive in a year is from this monsoon.

The north-east monsoon’s arrival is marked by a reversal in the direction of low-level winds over north coastal Tamil Nadu, according to Y.E.A. Raj, director of the India Meteorological Department’s regional centre at Chennai. Instead of coming from a south-westerly direction, the winds start blowing from the north-east. After the winds shift, persistent rainfall over coastal Tamil Nadu is taken to mark the monsoon’s onset.

Between 1901 and 2000, the onset of easterly winds took place between September 23 and November 1, Dr. Raj wrote in a paper published in Mausam, the IMD journal. The normal date for this change in wind direction was October 15. During the same period of one hundred years, the monsoon’s onset happened between October 4 and November 11, with the normal date for onset being October 20.

This year, the reversal in wind direction took place around October 9, according to Dr. Raj. But the easterly winds were still relatively weak and needed to strengthen for the monsoon onset to occur.

Labelling the two monsoons after the prevailing winds during those seasons gives the misleading impression that rain is brought to India by winds blowing from the south-west from June to September and, subsequently, is transported by winds from the north-east during October to December, pointed out Sulochana Gadgil of the Indian Institute of Science. It would perhaps be better to call the two seasons “summer monsoon” and “post-monsoon.”

As one can readily discern from satellite weather pictures, there is, in fact, no difference in the basic nature of the cloud systems that provide rain during the two seasons, said Dr. Gadgil. Driven by heat from the sun’s rays, a band of clouds, often hundreds of kilometres long in the east-west direction, forms over the equatorial Indian Ocean and then moves northward over the Indian subcontinent.

In the case of the summer monsoon, the cloud band ultimately settles over the plains north of Mumbai. During the post-monsoon season, the cloud band stays over the country’s southern part.

El Nino effects

A great deal of effort within the country and abroad has gone into understanding the south-west monsoon, which provides nearly 80 per cent of India’s countrywide rainfall. The north-east monsoon has, by contrast, been far less studied. But it has been known for some time that an El Nino has very different effects on the south-west and north-east monsoons. This abnormal warming of the equatorial waters of the central and eastern Pacific has often been associated with failure of the south-west monsoon. But the very same phenomenon appears to have just the opposite effect on the north-east monsoon, leading to more bountiful rain.

Research that was published this year by Pankaj Kumar of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, K. Rupa Kumar, currently with the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, M. Rajeevan of the IMD’s National Climate Centre in Pune, and A.K. Sahai, also of IITM, examined the relationship between the “El Nino/Southern Oscillation” (ENSO), a term that encompasses Pacific sea surface temperatures change as well as associated atmospheric pressure variations, and the north-east monsoon between 1901 and 2000.

They found that the correlation between ENSO and the north-east monsoon had fluctuated during this period. The relationship was positive and strong from 1930 to 1950, and then became weak for the next two and a half decades. But since 1976, the relationship has picked up and become strong again. This, the scientists noted, was “diametrically opposite” to the relationship between ENSO and the south-west monsoon, which has weakened greatly in recent decades.

Moreover, north-east monsoon rainfall during the El Nino years after 1976 had on average become considerably more copious than during the period from 1950 to 1976. The scientists pointed to evidence that changes in atmospheric circulation during an El Nino were now strengthening easterly wind flows, thus bringing more moisture to the subcontinent and increasing rainfall during the north-east monsoon.

This year, however, a La Nina, the opposite of an El Nino, is developing. A La Nina is generally beneficial for the south-west monsoon but could it weaken the north-east monsoon? There have been seven La Nina years since 1950 and the north-east monsoon was within normal limits in six of them, said Dr. Pankaj Kumar. Only in 1988 did the monsoon end in a severe drought.

It is possible, however, that this year the north-east monsoon may be less bountiful than usual, according to Dr. Raj

El Nino Is Back And There Will Be Impacts On Weather And Crops

The bad boy is back! It is official, we are in an El Nino year. So say all the experts, with the Australian weather experts adding their confirmation to NOAA and others. The big question is does it stay a weak, grows further to a moderate phenomena, or grows to a strong El Nino. The strength of the El Nino can have major impacts on weather and therefore the crops many of us focus on.

A bad little boy (El Nino) can wreck havoc on some of the major crop of the world. The FT already has an article on the Monsoon blues that "...threatens India's farms and its economy". Many forecasters are projecting a weak or moderate El Nino, but watch out if it does become moderate or even strong. A strong El Nino could result in a severe drought in India (they have just cancelled the export of wheat from India, just in case they have crop failures and a famine). In India the drought is impacting sugar, corn and pulses already. Other countries that would be impacted by drought would be Indonesia and Malaysia, the two largest producers of palm oil, the largest source of edible vegetable oil and a large share of Wilmar's palm oil base. Lower palm oil production would increase the demand for soybean oil which right now is a major problem for crush rates. This would have a favorable impact on ADM, Cargill, Bunge and Louis Drefus, all major soybean processors in the US and South America. A drought in these countries would also impact rubber production, still critical for airplane tires and some other special uses.

Australia's wheat crop could also be impacted by a drought later this year in their spring season. Australia just increased their wheat crop estimates, but they could drop. Grain companies based in Australia could be impacted by a drop in grain production including ABB, AWB and even Viterra out of Canada who is planning to purchase ABB.

In the Americas, the fishmeal industry could be impacted by a shift away from the coast of their cool Humbolt water current which would be replaced by a warmer, less productive El Nino current. Heavy rains could be seen starting in Ecuador and extending all the way down the Peruvian coast into Chile. On the other side of the continent, Brazil could see some areas with flooding and some with drought, both impacting a needed soybean harvest for early next year.

In the US the crops would not be impacted too much by a severe El Nino, but as can be recalled from the 1997/1998 El Nino, California could be hit by strong storms with lots of rains, floods and mud slides along the southern coast. The grain belt could see a milder winter, which after the past two La Nina years would be well received and would also lower natural gas use.

So there a lot of "coulds" here that need to be watched for if that little boy becomes a bad one.

**ALERT** Monsoon diseases are on the prowl

Rains are here and temperatures down. Freaking out and savouring pani-puris and hot dalwadas amid the splashes can be real fun. But are you prepared to face the dangers that go with it. Hidden in these treats' are nasty micro-organisms that are waiting to attack and throw a spanner on your joys.

Threat of mosquitoes carriers of deadly diseases is looming large over the city. Already patients are lining up at clinics and hospitals complaining of monsoon diseases'.

Dengue and malaria are spreading tentacles. In a recent survey, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials found that one out of every 140 houses was breeding mosquitoes in new west zone alone. Khadia, situated in the walled city, has the highest mosquito density, the survey revealed.

City-based consultant paediatrician Dr Raju Shah says, "Cases of diarrhoea, dengue and malaria are on the rise, especially after showers in the city. These are all water-borne diseases. Kids are most vulnerable to these diseases. Those belonging to the lower-middle class are the hardest hit."

Fever, body ache and mild cold, accompanied by diarrhoea, are some of the common ailments that people are complaining about. Dr Rajesh Rajpal, a general physician, said, "In the last three to four days, the number of patients complaining of viral fever and diarrhoea have almost doubled. More than 80 per cent of cases are of viral infection and it spreads very fast as it is air borne."

And what about AMC's preparedness to tackle the situation. Medical officer, AMC, Suhas Kulkarni said, "The delayed monsoon in the city has given us ample time to carry out our anti-mosquito drive in all the municipal zones of AMC. The corporation has been conducting health awareness camps and focussing on source reduction of mosquitoes breeding areas. We collect blood samples from 19 primary health centres of AMC when a patient comes complaining about high fever."

Monsoon - Make Up!!

Foundation melting off your face, dark smudges under the eyes, mascara and eye liner that runs, concealer that blotches, lip gloss that drips ... SIMPLE: Check out actress Kareens Kapoor’s minimalistic makeup look
sounds familiar?

Well, these are some of the common monsoon related makeup woes that most women face. “This is the prime season as far as skin is concerned. There is excess humidity in the air causing the skin to sweat a lot and look sticky,” says Sushma Khan, National Trainer, Skin, Lakme Salon. According to her, the best option is to look after the skin well so that the need to apply makeup is minimalised.
But hey, what’s life without a nice touch of makeup, right? And so, if you are one of those who’s facing the above mentioned problems, here’s what you need to look out for:

“Too much of foundation is one of the biggest mistakes,” says celebrity makeup artiste, Clint Fernandes. He adds that with the weather being moist and humid, foundation often tends to smudge and smear. “Instead, use a compact and touch it up when you reach your destination,” he adds.
Another common mistake women make is using the incorrect product and shade. “They don’t usually bother to check whether their foundation is water resistant,” says Anjalee Gaekwar, Sales and Education Manager, Estee Lauder, India. Meanwhile, Stafford Braganza, head makeup artist, LancĂ´me India advises, “Select a shade that’s closest to your natural skin undertone.” He adds that applying a compact will help to set the foundation and make it last all day long. Sushma meanwhile opines that since the main purpose of a foundation is to even out the skin tone, women with flawless skin can actually do without it. “Instead, use a concealer and then use a matt compact,” she suggests.

“One of the most common mistakes is that of not taking care of eye makeup before stepping out of the house,” says Anjalee adding that it is essential to use a waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Explaining this Stafford says, “If the mascara is not waterproof, it will smudge or run down the cheeks and that looks awful.” Sushma meanwhile, suggests using a transparent mascara and a water proof kajal pencil to leave you with zero smudges and hassle free in the rains. “Blend it in with your finger so that your eyes get a smokey effect,” she suggests. Another option Stafford says is to put away the usual dark colours and instead, go it for fresher blues, greens, aquas and magentas. “All waterproof, of course,” he adds.

“Don’t use too much of gloss. The humidity causes it to drip and that looks yucky,” says Clint. For lipsticks, the cardinal rule is to go in for the long lasting, matt effect types. “One big mistake is that women choose shades which are too dark for the monsoons. Steer clear of dark or heavy colours and go in for fresh and clean ones like marines, corals and peaches,” Stafford says. According to Sushma, it’s best to go in for a light lip pencil for the outer rim of the lip and a lip balm for the lips.

“Women tend to choose the wrong texture of blush. Remember, during the monsoons it should be soft and complement you. Always use a cream or mousse blush preferably something that is water resistant,” says Stafford. And for those who are not so inclined towards the blusher, Sushma gives an easy alternative. “Instead of a lot of blush, take a little lipstick and apply it on the cheeks and spread it out evenly,” she suggests.

Moisturiser and sunscreen
“Many women don’t use a moisturiser as they believe that if they feel their skin is oily, they do not need to. That’s absolutely wrong! Just because your skin is oily does not necessarily mean your skin is hydrated,” says Stafford. Anjalee adds that when cells are damaged by factors such as UV exposure, pollution and glycation, they age before their time and begin to lose optimal function. “Using the right face moisturiser can reverse the cellular aging process and dramatically reduce the look of lines and wrinkles,” she says. Clint meanwhile emphasises that it’s absolutely necessary to use a sunscreen, “Yes, even in this whether,” he says adding that the high levels of pollution in the air make it a must. Stafford adds, “UVA and UVB rays can penetrate even through the clouds. So don’t forget to apply your sunscreen and also, ensure that you apply it at least 25 minutes before leaving your home,” he advises
Roads have sustained monsoon showers claims PMC ..
#chennai - Nothing in terms of Rain for today. Going to be a Dry and HOT night.
#chennai - now we can see low cloud formations to south-south-west and some over to west. We'll keep it updated.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places is likely over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, Assam & Meghalaya and Arunachal 48 h
High tides in Chennai too... .. satellite pic shows:: Mostly clear India with some rains over North-east and noteable feature BAY is active.

High tides in Chennai too...

A sense of understated fear wafted in the shore areas of Chennai as memories of a distant disastrous day came in waves, with the sea water encroaching into unchartered territories.

Though the tides were predicted by the Met officials, the rise in sea water in places like Srinivasapuram and Pattinapakkam, rang alarm bells among the residents, while the thoughts of tsunami hung in the area like the persistent smell of fish that the area is quite famous for. The sea water entered many hutment dotting the quaint coast of Chennai.

But even as Chennai’s shoreline was washed with warm waters of a turbulent sea, Mumbai was being lashed with high tides. According to reports, nearly 200 people have been evacuated from coastal areas, warnings have been sent out to those in low-lying regions and schools have advised students to stay at home as the financial capital braces for a massive 5.5 metre high tidal wave, billed as the highest in 100 years, to lash it Friday afternoon.

The high tide was expected to hit Mumbai and the surrounding Konkan region at 2.05 p.m. The waters will ebb only after three to four hours, met officials said. In the past two days, as waves measuring 4.85 and 5.1 metres lashed Mumbai, civic and disaster management authorities evacuated people — mostly shanty dwellers — from vulnerable areas like Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Andheri, Jogeshwari and even parts of neighbouring Thane.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has issued warnings to people in low-lying areas to watch out for the gigantic tide Friday and take adequate precautions. On Thursday, sea water rushed into several buildings in Cuffe Parade, Worli, Dadar, Prabhadevi, Andheri, Juhu, Khar and Malad.

However, for many Mumbaikars, the tides offered a rare view of a natural phenomenon after clouds obscured the solar eclipse Wednesday. Thousands of people excitedly saw the tides from a safe distance at places like Colaba, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty, Worli Sea-Face, Bandra Bandstand, Juhu Beach, Gorai Beach and Marve Beach yesterday. Today, greater numbers were at hand to witness the nature erupting in joy or anger

Monsoon calling visitors to Kerala

So the Monsoon is knocking the door of India and refreshing shower is also received at many places across the country. Monsoon, oohhhhhhh, whenever we pronounce this word, it feels our mind and body with new energy and every time our urge increases to experience it ourselves. God’s own country Kerala, becomes more beautiful in during monsoon and attract honeymooners and common travellers from across the globe.

If the word Monsoon and its unique experience have lured you, then don’t wait, just pull out one or two weeks vacation from your busy schedule this monsoon and head straight towards Kerala. Blessed with natural beauty, Kerala beckons tourists in the monsoons for a fantastic vacation. Here in Kerala you can refresh yourself in the invigorating monsoon rain or luxuriate in the simplest of pleasures in exotic resorts or gaze at the spectacle of caparisoned elephants or even enjoy a joy ride atop one. Besides, tranquil backwaters, clean beaches, rich and varied wildlife and colourful festivals altogether make Kerala an unparalleled tourist destination.

Personally I suggest you to combine monsoon and Ayurveda, and you will return home with never before experience. Acccording to Ayurveda practitioners, the soothing monsoon season from June to October is the best time for Ayurveda. Experts say, during monsoon the body remains most receptive to the therapeutic and restorative powers of herbs and oil. Hence, an Ayurveda vacation to Kerala in the moonsoon is the best way to refresh, rejuvenate, replenish and renew your body and soul.

Kerala’s pleasant climate and natural abundance of forests make it a perfect destination for Ayurveda treatments. In fact, Kerala is the only place in the world, where the 5,000 year old healthcare system is practiced with absolute authenticity and dedication.

During monsoon Kerala Tourism organises several innovating programmes like ‘Rainwalks’ in Trivandrum and Fort Kochi. In Trivandrum, the tour takes you along the heritage area of East Fort dotted with old forts, palaces and temples. The monsoon showers will provide the perfect background to unveil the story of a unique town set around centuries-old temple having its own culture and distinct way of life. Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala lurer travellers to her shores. Here tree-lined avenues and quaint little lanes house the many treasures left behind by the Dutch, Portuguese, Chines and the British. Fort Kochi’s rich legacy can be best experienced with rainwalks.

Monsoon Holiday Packages for Kerala are offered by travel agents that covers almost all major and minor tourist destinations of the state. Most packages are aimed to suit both domestic and foreign tourists with a wide range of options to choose from. So, book a monsoon tour package, move to Kerala to rejoice in the rains with your dear ones.
Some heavy rainfall records for 24-Jul-09:: Naliya-30, Mahabaleshwar & Long Island-9 each, Okha-6, Bhuj, Passighat & Mayabandar-5 cm each
#chennai - temperature getting down fast, now 2:49pm it's 34.3°C
#chennai - very hot day at 39.8°C (1:44pm)..almost 40.