New Delhi: The chance of an El Nino weather pattern, which causes droughts in India, developing in the Pacific Ocean as early as July now exceeds 70%, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.

El Nino results from the abnormal warming of ocean temperature and causes abnormal weather conditions around the world. In India, El Nino has been historically associated with poor rainfall and droughts, including those in 2002 and 2009.

Australian experts say El Nino could develop as early as July. The equatorial Pacific Ocean has warmed over the past month, according to the Australian weather bureau update. In the past few months, the tropical Pacific Ocean has been steadily warming and Central Pacific has warmed by 0.6 °C since February, it said.

There are still differences about the intensity of El Nino, if it develops at all. An Australian climatologist was cited by Reuters on Monday as saying that the event developing currently in the ocean has characteristics of a strong El Nino.

Indian meteorologists are, however, more cautious with their predictions. “Our data says El Nino is likely to be of moderate intensity in July and August, and will gather intensity after monsoon," said Ajit Tyagi, a former director general at India Meteorological Department (IMD). In April, IMD forecast below average rainfall in the monsoon season this year with a 60% probability of the El Nino developing in the monsoon season.

Earlier in April, private forecasting agency Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd said there is only a 30% chance of this phenomenon getting stronger. “It is not an amplifying El Nino, so I will stick with that outlook," said Jatin Singh, chief executive of Skymet.

The June-to-September monsoon accounts for more than 70% of the annual rainfall in India and irrigates crops grown on half the country’s farmlands. Agriculture accounts for 14% of India’s gross domestic product. Poor monsoon forecasts have spurred fears in India about rising food prices and that could push back economic recovery.

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