NEW DELHI : Conditions for El Nino, the global ocean phenomenon known for its close link to extreme weather events and below normal monsoon in India, may remain neutral till spring, suggests latest forecast.

According to US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), El Nino conditions are currently neutral and there is a 60% probability that it may remain so till the end of spring in the northern hemisphere and a 50% chance that the conditions may continue till summer.

According to the forecast, the formation of a full-blown El Niño is unlikely so far, which is a good news for India.

El Nino is characterized by above normal sea-surface temperatures over central and eastern Pacific Ocean. It typically has a warming effect on temperatures and is associated with extreme weather events. In India, it is known for its adverse effect on the southwest monsoon, impeding its progress and leading to below normal rainfall and droughts.

However, if conditions remain neutral, the impact on monsoon is not significant. Last year, El Nino conditions had turned neutral in July, allowing the southwest monsoon current to gain strength which resulted in excess rains during July and August.

However, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD), it is too early to predict its impact on the southwest monsoon, which makes its onset over India in June.

"Each El Nino phenomenon evolves differently and its transition varies from year to year, so it is too early to make any prediction on its likely impact on Indian weather," said an IMD scientist. The weather department would release its first long range forecast for the monsoon in April.

Meanwhile, the latest Monsoon Mission Coupled Forecast System (MMCFS) of the IMD indicates cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the coming season and continuance of ENSO-neutral conditions.

However, scientists highlight that warm surface conditions over Pacific need to be monitored closely over the next few months for an accurate assessment of an impact.

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