PUNE, India (Reuters) - Last month's devastating tsunami in Japan will have no impact on the progress of the June-September monsoon rains in India, a top official of the World Metrological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday.
"Tsunami is a short-term phenomenon. Its occurrence in Japan will have no impact on the Indian monsoon," Rupa Kumar Kolli, chief of WMO's world climate applications and services division, told Reuters.
Kolli was speaking on the sidelines of the South Asian Outlook Forum, which should issue its agenda-setting consensus forecast for this year's monsoon on Friday.
Some Indian weather experts had expressed concern that the March 11 tsunami could alter wind patterns over the Pacific Ocean and affect sea surface temperatures, impacting India's monsoon.
El Nino, a temperature rising phenomenon over the Pacific Ocean usually causes dry monsoon in south Asia, including India.
Ajit Tyagi, director general of the India Meteorological Department had said last month any significant effect of the tsunami could influence global climatic conditions.
India will give its first official forecast for this year's monsoon on April 19. The monsoon is crucial for India, which depends heavily on its agriculture sector to feed its 1.2 billion population.
B.N. Goswami, director of the state-backed Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said this year's monsoon rains would be mainly driven by regional weather factors like inter-seasonal oscillations, heating pattern of surface temperature in mainland India and temperature gradients.
"We do not expect El Nino condition to influence Indian monsoon in 2011," Goswami said. "This means external conditions influencing Indian monsoon will not be strong this year."
(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)