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Opinion

Longer and harder winter likely as La Niña peaks: World Meteorological Organization

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Winter may be relatively harsher and longer in northern India this year as La Niña, a global weather pattern that has a cooling effect on global weather conditions, has matured and is nearly peaking.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said various meteorological parameters indicate that La Niña, which started in September, is approaching its peak and may return to neutral conditions only late next summer.

Scientists said this could mean a long and harsh winter in northern India and could have an impact on the next monsoon depending on the La Niña status in May, June and July.

La Niña is just one of a number of climatic factors that affect climate globally. Other drivers include the Indian Ocean dipole and the Madden-Julian oscillation. Therefore, forecasting the expected impacts of La Niña can be complex, WMO said, adding that it has begun to mobilize preparations for La Niña impacts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has estimated that there is a 95% chance that La Niña will continue through March 2021.

Also read: Bitter cold persists in North India, light snowfalls likely in Kashmir over the weekend

The WMO said on Wednesday that Southeast Asia is expected to experience a typical La Niña climate response over the next three months, with wetter-than-average conditions affecting most parts, particularly the Philippines, at increased risk of floods and landslides.

“We have already said that below normal temperatures are expected in North West India during winter. Generally, La Niña aids the Indian monsoon, which means above normal rains are expected, but it is too early to give a specific monsoon forecast. We know that cold westerly winds tend to move inland during La Niña years, which is why winter is more pronounced, ”said DS Pai, senior scientist at the Indian Meteorological Department, Pune.

“It looks like until February, winter conditions will be harsh and this can be a long winter. La Niña years are associated with longer winters. The peak of winter cold is likely to be felt in the first week of January, as a couple of western unrest is likely to bring widespread snowfall to the western Himalayan region. If La Niña conditions do not immediately change to El Niño when sea surface temperatures are very warm, next year’s monsoon is likely to be above normal as well, ”explained Mahesh Palawat, Vice President of Climate Change and meteorology from Skymet Weather. .

“Both October and November have been colder than normal in northwestern India, which may be related to La Niña. Another period of very low temperatures can start at the end of the month and early January, ”said RK Jenamani, senior scientist at the National Weather Forecast Center.

El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a periodic fluctuation in sea surface temperature and air pressure from the overlying atmosphere across the equatorial Pacific Ocean according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

ENSO has a great influence on weather and climate patterns such as heavy rains, floods, and droughts. El Niño has a warming influence on global temperatures, while La Niña has the opposite effect. In India, for example, El Niño is associated with droughts or weak monsoons, while La Niña is associated with heavy monsoons and above-average rainfall and colder winters.

IMD, in its seasonal outlook for winter, had said nights and early mornings are likely to be cold, with lower than normal minimum temperatures in most of the north, northwest, central and some parts of the eastern India, while daytime temperatures are likely to be above normal. in the same regions. Daytime temperature variation (difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures) is likely to be high in most of the northern, northwestern, central and some eastern subdivisions of India.

The WMO also said in a statement Thursday that this decade (2011-2020) is the warmest and this year remains on track to be one of the three warmest on record, despite a La Niña cooling event, which now it is ripe and impacts weather patterns. In many parts of the world.

“Record hot years have generally coincided with a strong El Niño event, as was the case in 2016. We are now experiencing a La Niña, which has a cooling effect on global temperatures, but has not been enough to slow down the of this year. hot. Despite the current La Niña conditions, this year has already shown near-record heat comparable to the previous record in 2016, ”said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.

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