IMPACT OF EL-NINO (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     10th November 2023        
output themes

Context: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recently provided an update on the ongoing El Nino event in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, forecasting its potential continuation into April 2024 and peaking between November and January.

  • El Nino is the warmer-than-normal phase of ENSO, when the sea-surface temperatures in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than the average by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Key Points

  • This could cause further rise in global average temperatures and fuel more extreme weather events such as heatwaves, wildfires and droughts. 
  • For India, it could mean a warmer-than-normal winter season in most of India and also a stormier-than-normal pre-monsoon season for north-west India.
  • The current El Nino developed pretty quickly during July-August 2023 and reached moderate levels by September.
  • During El Nino, the winter cold tends to be trapped to the northwest and central India. But this year’s El Nino is warmer than expected in the western Pacific and the Arabian Sea is warm.

El Niño:

  • Meaning: It is a phenomenon that occurs when the surface waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean become unusually warm, affecting the weather and climate around the world. The current El Nino event is the 5th since 2000.
  • Also known as: The little boy or the Christ child.
  • Part of: Larger cycle called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which also includes La Niña, the opposite phase of cooling waters. 
  • Occurrence: El Niño and La Niña events occur every 2-7 years, on average, but they don’t occur on a regular schedule.
  • Duration: El Niño and La Niña typically last 9- 12 months, but can sometimes last for years.