El Niño to weaken, but not fast enough

THE strong El Niño weather condition will be weakening in the coming months, but there will be long months ahead yet of hot and very dry weather.

The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (Enso) Diagnostic Discussion issued by the Climate Prediction Center of the US, the National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society forecast the strong El Nino to start to weaken between March 20-June 19, or what is called Spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

This was also confirmed by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) in a press release from Science Philippines.

“The adverse impacts include below normal rainfall that could lead to a dry spell and drought conditions in many parts of the country until the first half of 2016,” said Dr. Vicente B. Malano, Pagasa Administrator.

“The El Nino expected to will remain strong until February with the probability of below normal rainfall expected from January to April, leading to drought in 68 provinces by the end of April. Slightly warmer than average temperature is expected during the period,” said Anthony Lucero, head of Pagasa’s Climate Information Monitoring and Prediction Section.

The strong El Nino continued during December, the report dated January 14, 2016 said, with well above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

“All weekly Nino indices decreased slightly from the previous month,” the report said, although subsurface temperatures were still well above average. “During the last week, another westerly wind burst occurred in the east-central Pacific.

The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values remained strongly negative.

Also, convection remained strong over the central and east-central tropical Pacific, and suppressed over Indonesia. Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect the continuation of a strong El Niño episode,” it added. Most prediction models show that the El Nino will weaken and transition to Enso-neutral or normal weather during the late spring or early summer of the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from June 1 to August 31, 2016. The greatest impact of the El Nino will be felt by March when harvest season for rice comes.
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