After two successive years of drought, a glimmer of hope finally seems to be appearing for the Indian monsoon. The first forecast for the monsoon rainfall this year is still three weeks away, but scientists are taking heart from the fact that a key indicator is showing signs of turning favourable in the coming days.
The most crucial is the El Nino phenomenon which is known to suppress rainfall over the Indian region. The El Nino, a reference to the unusual warming of the sea surface in equatorial Pacific Ocean, was blamed for last year's drought and also the lack of rains in this winter season. International climate models are now showing that this El Nino is finally getting weaker and is likely to be neutralised by May.
What is more, there is a 50 per cent chance of a La Nina, the opposite of El Nino, developing by August, according to the latest bulletin issued by Climate Prediction Centre of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States. La Nina, an unusual cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is known to enhance rainfall activity during the monsoon months in India. See more.