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Analysis Of DTE Magazine July 2022, Part 1: How is Climate Change Making La Nina Impact Severe?


Down To Earth is a fortnightly magazine focusing on politics of environment and development, published in New Delhi, India.

UPSC Previous years’ questions on Development, Environment, Health and Disaster Management give us a clear idea about the increased importance of DTE magazine.

DTE Magazine is one of the most important and indispensable source for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation. Keeping this in mind, here, we come with ”Analysis Of Down To Earth Magazine” which covers important environmental current affairs articles in smooth pointed form, keeping in mind the demand of UPSC aspirants.


Why La Nina In the News

  • East Africa is experiencing its worst drought in four decades. The last four monsoons have been majorly deficit and the coming season in October-December is forecast to follow suit, making the overall situation
  • The last rainy season—March to May—was the driest in 70 years for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
  • As per WFP, some 7 million livestock have died and about 20 million people are facing severe hunger.
  • World Food Programme (WFP), warned of a famine unseen in recent history.


About Current La Nina Event

  • La Niña is a natural large-scale cooling of surface temperature in central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • As the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its bulletin on June 10, the event started in 2020 and will persist till 2022, with a high possibility of continuing till 2023.
  • WMO said that the naturally occurring climate event is having unusual impacts: though “La Niña has a cooling influence, temperatures are continuing to rise due to global warming”.
  • Now the intensity of La Nina is greatly amplified by human-induced warming in the western Pacific.


How Climate Change-La Nina Interaction is impacting East Africa?

  • The current droughts have been produced by an interaction between La Niña and climate change.
  • Naturally occurring La Niñas are associated with cool sea surface temperatures in the east Pacific.
  • The impact of La Niñas is increasing for East Africa because of human induced warming in the oceans.
  • When there is a La Niña event, the west-to-east winds over the Pacific Ocean intensify, pushing the extra heat in the Pacific into the western Pacific.
  • These warm waters cause the rainfall around Indonesia to increase, to the west of this precipitation one finds dry hot sinking air over East Africa, which reduces the total rainfall and increases air temperatures.
  • The current multi-season drought has been produced by a natural multi-year La Niña event—amplified by climate change—expressed as exceptionally warm west Pacific sea surface temperatures and exceptionally warm air temperatures over East Africa.


Climate change to enhance the impact of La Niña: Indin context

  • Climate change is expected to further amplify the cold (La Niña) and warm (El Niño) phases of ENSO, respectively.
  • India is already battling with a substantial increase in extreme weather events, erratic Monsoon patterns and much stronger cyclonic storms.
  • The usual traits of La Niña include reduced snowfall and winter rains across Northwest India, which scientists believe would enhance stress on the Himalayas that are already dealing with rising temperatures.


How does La Nina Impacts India?

  • According to meteorologists, La Niña has an association with winter rains over North India.
  • Unlike El Niño, it may not have a strong correlation with the seasonal features but remains consequential for the seasonal performance.
  • Though there is no rule book for La Niña’s behavioural patterns, the performance for winter rains is expected on the following lines:
    • Winter rainfall less than normal over North India
    • Snowfall over Western Himalayas is less than normal
    • Winter temperatures in the plains to be less than normal
    • Prolonged Winter Season over North India (extended winters)
    • More rain during the second half of Northeast Monsoon

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