Scientists have blamed this year’s drought on a rare fierce war of temperatures over the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, which prevented formation of monsoon clouds.

Despite its early onset over Kerala, the southwest monsoon played truant for most of June this year due to unusual heating up of the Indian Ocean as compared to the Bay of Bengal, senior meteorologists P A Francis and Sulochana Gadgil have found.

Indian monsoon is sustained by formation of clouds over a warm Bay. Normally, the sea surface temperatures in the Bay are slightly higher than sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Indian Ocean region.

Analysis of sea surface temperatures for June showed that the Bay was colder than the equatorial Indian Ocean which was warmer than average.

“The large deficit rainfall over the Indian region in June 2009 was associated with the suppression of convection over the Bay of Bengal,” Francis and Gadgil wrote in Current Science.

Francis and Gadgil are senior scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services and the Indian Institute of Science, respectively.

The country received 48 per cent deficit rains in June while the overall monsoon deficiency for the season was 23 per cent.


Number of drought-hit districts rises to 177November 15, 2009

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