El Nino leaves trail of agony, what about La Nina?

elnenoAfter a deadly El Nino, the Indian sub-continent is bracing itself to be struck by La Nina, another extreme weather phenomenon that is expected to occur in October-November this year and may last for a year.

La Nina is the cooling of surface waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. That is the opposite of El Nino, which is the warming of the surface waters. According to weather experts, cool waters tend to dry things out, while warmer waters provide moisture that fuels Pacific storms.

There have been several La Nina episodes in the last 30 years and the severest of all were in 1988 and 2012.

The transition period from an El Nino to a La Nino can skew weather patterns.

The potential emergence of a La Nina comes as the strongest El Nino in nearly 20 years – which has been linked to serious crop damage, forest fires and flash floods – begins to subside.

La Nina is the opposite of the El Nino weather event that is characterized by warmer waters in the tropical Pacific. While a La Nina can be less damaging than El Nino, severe La Ninas are also linked to floods, droughts and hurricanes.

Union Agriculture ministry however struck an optimistic note. The ground water levels may be charged and good rains for a good part of the year will do good for the agro-based economy, it said.

Medaram Jathara

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