Sydney: The 2009-10 El Nino weather pattern that worsened Australia’s drought and caused the failure of last year’s monsoon in India, sending food prices soaring , is over.
“The El Nino event of 2009-10 has concluded, with all the major indicators now below El Nino thresholds,” Australia’s weather bureau said on Wednesday.
El Nino is driven by an abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean, and can create havoc in weather patterns across the Asia-Pacific region. The last severe El Nino in 1998 killed around 2,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damages to crops, infrastructure and mines in Australia and Asia.
Widespread protests against rising food prices in India as a result of the failure of last year’s June-September monsoon has seen the government reluctant to export grain even though the country has a huge wheat surplus. The Indian government has forecast a normal monsoon this year, but analysts remain sceptical. Any sign of a poor monsoon would push up domestic and global prices of grains, sugar, oilseeds and lentils. It would also add to pressure on the central bank to further tighten policy.