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El Niño likely to bring extreme weather across the world

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Important Geophysical Phenomena


Source: HT

 Context: According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the world should prepare for the development of El Niño, which is often associated with increased heat, drought or rainfall in different parts of the world.



  • La Niña has now ended after persisting for three years and the tropical Pacific is currently in an ENSO-neutral state (neither El Niño nor La Niña).
  • There is a 60% chance for a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño during May-July 2023.
  • 2016 was the warmest year on record because of the confluence of a very powerful El Niño event and global warming.


The typical impacts of El Niño include:

  • Increased rainfall in parts of southern South America, the southern US, the Horn of Africa and central Asia.
  • Severe droughts over Australia, Indonesia, and parts of southern Asia.
  • Warm water during summer in the northern hemisphere can fuel hurricanes in the central/eastern Pacific Ocean and can hinder hurricane formation in the Atlantic Basin.


Potential threats due to an El Niño event:

  • A new spike in global heating will increase the chance of breaking temperature records (in 2024).
  • 50:50 chance of the global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era.


Likely impact on India:

  • Normally, El Nino is good for the northeast monsoon [Oct-Dec in the peninsular region] but bad for the southwest monsoon (dry periods during June-Sept).
  • The monsoon season (~70% of India’s annual rainfall) is crucial to India’s agriculture – a lifeline for about 60% of the country’s net cultivated area.
  • Monsoon drives farm produce, rural spending, inflation, jobs, and industrial demand.
  • Good farm output checks food inflation, raises rural incomes and helps inject demand into the economy.


Challenge ahead for India:

  • IMD forecasted a “normal” monsoon at 96% (+/-5%) of the long-period average (LPA is 87 cm for the period of 1971 to 2020).
  • An unusually cold start to summer could delay the start of the monsoon season.


Way ahead – EW4All:

  • The Early Warnings For All Initiative (EW4All) was formally launched by the UN Secretary-General in November 2022 at the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh.
  • The Initiative calls for the whole world to be covered by an early warning system by the end of 2027.


Insta Links:

El Nino and Monsoon