Saturday, February 28, 2009
Winds of change : No winter rains
Normally the winter rains (and the occasional snowfall) in this part of the world is caused by a series of WESTERN DISTURBANCES (WDs). These are extra tropical storms which pick up their moisture from the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean and move thru Iran, Pakistan, northwest India and finally over our region during winters giving widespread rain and snow .
This year however, the WDs have followed a route which is much to the north of their normal tracks ( see slide 1) , also they have exhausted much of their moisture in the northwest resulting in no rain or snow this entire winter (Nov-Feb) in sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.
In comparison, last year we did have much more rain and even snow during this period.
As a result, fields are ploughed fields are dry (slide 2 shows fields in Bhalukhop, Kalimpong) and the crop of maize which feeds so many in this part of the world may be adversely affected. The other fallout of this drought maybe acute shortage in potable water supply in the urban areas and forest fires.
Talking about the weather, here is a useful link regarding rainfall and weather prediction
a) http://www.ncmrwf.gov.in/# (Min of Earth Sciences, GOI -provides medium range forecasts)