El Nino Current Affairs - 2020

IMD: El Nino to be neutral; Normal Monsoon rains for India

On March 19, 2020, the Indian Meteorological Department announced that the El Nino Weather Phenomenon is to remain neutral this year between May and July. This will bring in normal rains to India during South West Monsoon.

The Indian Monsoon is greatly affected by the El Nino and La Nina Weather Phenomenon. The neutral event of the weather phenomenon is addressed as ENSO Oscillation.

ENSO Neutral: The Usual Weather System in the Pacific

The trade winds that flows from the east to west (from South America to Australia) pushes warm water from the off coast of South America towards Eastern Australia and Asia. The waters are warmed up as they are in the tropical zone of the earth receiving direct sun rays. The warm water rises the air and gives plentiful rainfall in the region of Australia and Asia.

Also, the piling up of warm water in the western Pacific in turn pushes the cold under ocean waters towards eastern side of the Pacific (towards South America). This is called upwelling. This makes the climate in the western coast of South America cool.

Monsoon and ENSO

The ENSO phenomenon strengthens the trade winds that give good rains to India during Monsoon. It is the trade winds that get deflected due to Corolis force and blow as south west monsoon.

The heating up of Himalayas during summer creates a low pressure in the region. This low pressure attracts the moist high-pressure winds in the equator. They are moist due to the ENSO phenomenon.

Therefore, India receives good rainfall when ENSO is neutral

What is El Nino?

During El Nino, the ocean waters in the western Pacific (near Australia) warms up. This breaks the warm waters from reaching the Australian coast. This is because, the oceanic temperature in the middle of the Pacific is greater than its coastal. Hence, water starts moving from Australian coast and South American Coast towards the centre of the ocean. Rainfall now occurs in this part of the ocean, making both the coasts dry. Hence, the trade winds reaching near Indian waters are dry as well. This weakens Indian Monsoon.

Antarctica recorded the hottest temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius

The World Meteorological Organization announced that for the first time in record Antarctica has recorded its hottest temperature ever, 20.75 Degree Celsius. So far, the highest was 18.3 Degrees Celsius that was recorded in January 1982.

Highlights

The higher temperatures were influenced by shifts in El Nino and Ocean Currents. According to United Nations scientists, the Antarctic region stores more than 70% of world’s fresh water. If it melts, the sea level will increase by 50 to 60 metres.

Significance of Ice Sheet in Antarctica

The ice sheet in Antarctica covers 14 million square kilometres. To the east of Antarctica there lies land masses under the ice sheets. However, on the west Antarctica the ice beds can extend to more than 2500 metres under the sea.

The Arctic and Antarctic Ice sheets are important as they reflect 80% to 90% of solar radiation. On the other hand, the other dark surfaced landforms reflect less solar radiation and retain great amount of heat.