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Angry ‘girl child’ strikes Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
Farmers in Dehiattakandiya: A harvest destroyed by the freak weather patterns

Story: March is usually a hot month but heavy rains have lashed Sri Lanka this year. Meteorologists believe the prevailing weather is due to the La Nina conditions in the Pacific. The Maha harvest looked promising this year, but hundreds of paddy farmers in many districts have watched their crops go underwater because of the unseasonal rains, their harvest destroyed by the freak weather patterns. March is traditionally a drier period for Sri Lanka between the north-eastern monsoon and the inter-monsoonal rains. The earth's movement exposes Sri Lanka directly to the sun during this month, bringing swinging heat waves across the country. This year, La Nina changed the pattern. The large-scale variations in atmospheric pressure between the Pacific and the Indian oceans affect the trade winds. When the wind moves across large oceans, it absorbs water that later comes down as rain or storms. Recently there has been a change of temperature in the eastern seas near Indonesia/Sumatra which is believed to be due to the La Nina phenomenon. During the last century El Niño and La Niña events occurred in equal numbers with an average return period of about four years. They usually last about a year and peak in the northern hemisphere winter. But there seems to be a change of the patterns. Scientists are still looking for a Global Warming "fingerprint" on El Nino/La Nina conditions. But many believe it is likely we will see more El Nino/La Nina because of global warming. The recent changes in weather patterns in Sri Lanka are consistent with climate change. The need of the hour is to build a climate change model for identifying the patterns.

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