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El Nino Expected To Be Strong

El Nino Expected To Be Strong
September 17
11:17 2015

El Nino is expected to become of the strongest towards the end of the year, according to the Nadraki Weather.

Its managing director and meteorologist Neville Koop said, “This current event is still strengthening, and by the end of the year is expected to become one of the strongest ever events, matching the 1997/1998 event which is the strongest so far measured.”

He said the event was now categorised as a “strong El Nino event” by virtue of the extent to which the sea temperatures had warmed.

“In a region of ocean along the equator from just north of Tokelau to the Marquesas Islands Ocean temperatures are monitored, and if temperatures in this region exceed 2.2 degrees Celsius above the long term average the event is known as a strong El Nino,” Mr Koop said.

“The main impact of this event is with weather significantly drier than usual in Fiji, so drought conditions are likely high.”

Water shortages will affect agriculture, human health and also affect energy through depletion of dams feeding hydroelectric electricity generation.

“There is also an increased likelihood of cyclones, including an increased risk of severe cyclones, in the southwest Pacific basin,” he said.

El Niño are not caused by climate change but climate change could make their impacts more severe.

Mr Koop said El Nino is a state of the global climate system that is naturally occurring but which sees significant departures from the “normal” conditions experienced in Fiji.

Mr Koop said El Nino usually begins in the southern winter, from June to August, peaks around early summer, November or December, then weakens and dies in the following Autumn, March and April.

 

Four million plus to be affected

The United Nations says the looming threat from El Nino could impact on more than four million people across the Pacific and its urging governments to start implementing their drought plans.

With up to two million people in Papua New Guinea are already facing food and water shortages and the effects being felt in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, UN resident co-ordinator for the Pacific, Osnat Lubrani, says this El Nino could be the worst ever.

He said prolonged drought was particularly difficult for women and children who are mostly responsible for collecting water in Pacific communities.

 

Preparation

Mr Koop said each country should have existing plans for drought, flood, cyclone and other disasters.

“These plans will assist governments, NGOS and the community to be informed about the risks involved. Some countries in the region have already started to implement parts of their drought plan for El Nino.

The Water Authority of Fiji is urging people across the nation to conserve water during this dry spell.

The authority also requests each household to become responsible and collect rain water as well.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 

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