A biting cold awaits North India due to the weather phenomenon La Nina that has emerged in the Pacific Ocean.
A Bloomberg report has stated that January and February will be particularly cold in some northern states with temperatures set to fall as low as three degrees Celsius.
The report also stated that a colder winter meant energy crises in several Asian nations, particularly China that is a top energy consumer. India is also grappling with surging fuel prices and a coal shortage like other countries in Asia.
As the North braces for winter, here’s a simple explainer of this weather phenomenon and how it will affect India.
What is La Nina?
La Nina means Little Girl in Spanish.
According to the National Ocean Service of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NIAA), US Department of Commerce, La Nina is also sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Nino, or simply "a cold event." La Niña has the opposite effect of El Nino.
La Nina impacts the global climate and disrupts normal weather patterns, which can lead to intense storms in some places and droughts in others.
— NOAA Climate.gov (@NOAAClimate) October 14, 2021
According to National Geographic, this weather condition is caused by a build-up of cooler-than-normal waters in the tropical Pacific, the area of the Pacific Ocean between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Unusually strong, eastward-moving trade winds and ocean currents bring this cold water to the surface, a process known as upwelling.
Upwelling can cause a drastic drop in sea-surface temperature. Coastal sea-surface temperatures near Ecuador and Peru dropped nearly 4 degrees Celsius during the 1988-89 La Niña event.
How long does La Nina last?
The National Ocean Service says that episodes of La Nina typically last nine to 12 months but can sometimes stretch for years.
They both tend to develop during the spring, reach peak intensity during the late fall or winter and then weaken during the spring or summer.
The last La Nina episode was experienced from August 2020 to April 2021.
How India will be affected
As per reports, La Nina is the reason behind an early winter in Himachal Pradesh. Areas of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur have already seen the mercury drop to sub-zero temperatures. In fact, Shimla, according to the India Meteorological Department data, recorded a minimum temperature of 6.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
Moreover, January and February will be extremely cold with the temperatures set to fall as low as three degrees Celsius.
Additionally, the La Nina phenomenon is also the reason behind the nation witnessing unusually heavy rains in some parts of the country — especially in Uttarakhand and in Kerala. The heavy rainfall in the hilly state led to chaos and disaster, with 77 people reportedly dead. Meanwhile, another 42 people died in rain and landslides in Kerala, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Last year, several places in North India — including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab — recorded a minimum temperature below the five degrees Celsius mark.
Delhi, too, witnessed a colder November. In fact, December 2019 was its second coldest ever in over 100 years; the maximum day temperature dropped to 9.4C.
So, we warn you to get your woollies out, prepare your heaters as it will be a long, harsh winter.
With inputs from agencies