With the Indian Meteorological Department sounding the warning that the country could face below average monsoon as it will coincide with an El Nino effect, farmers and agro-industrialists have been left extremely distraught. Given the odds of freakish weather already disrupting the harvest pattern in the last one and half months, with unseasonal rains affecting rabi crops like wheat and maize severely, the future too looks bleak. The El Nino weather phenomenon has the potential to push back economic recovery and further escalate inflation in India, sending food prices through the roof. Because El Nino is associated with a severely crunched rainfall and other forms of precipitation, and occurs when Pacific Ocean heats up abnormally resulting in higher temperatures and pressures in much of the Earth’s water surface, it has the capacity to throw offtrack the entire global weather cycle affecting huge swathes of the southern hemisphere, particularly the Indian subcontinent and its peninsular region. Our rainfall-dependent agricultural sector is likely to take a big hit this year, but the real significance of the prediction lies elsewhere. Far from being a one-off phenomenon, the frequency of unexpected heavy and light rains has only gone up in the past few decades. If the International Panel on Climate Change’s yearly report is anything to go by, global warming is wreaking havoc with weather patterns the world over, causing extreme floods on one hand and severe droughts on the other. Even if we discount this particular prediction as being part of the normal climactic shifts, how do we account for the repeated fluctuations that have sprung up the numbers of cyclones, hurricanes and devastating super storms all across the world? Evidently, El Nino or not, we are already too weatherbeaten not to get our act together.