El Niño weather likely to persist till March, affecting wide areas of world – UN agency

1 December 2006

A moderate El Niño across the tropical Pacific is expected to persist until at least March, according to the latest United Nations forecast issued today on the periodic weather pattern that can have repercussions around the world, from torrential rains and floods in the Americas and Africa to droughts and brush fires in Australia and Asia.

A moderate El Niño across the tropical Pacific is expected to persist until at least March, according to the latest United Nations forecast issued today on the periodic weather pattern that can have repercussions around the world, from torrential rains and floods in the Americas and Africa to droughts and brush fires in Australia and Asia.

The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said eastern equatorial Africa, already suffering from flooding due to extremely heavy rainfall, as well as the tropical western Pacific and Indian Oceans and neighbouring lands, are expected to be affected by the phenomenon, caused by extensive warming of surface waters over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

“Elsewhere, over the coming months, characteristic El Niño climate patterns are now more likely to occur across the Americas, the tropical Atlantic Basin, parts of Africa and South Asia,” it added.

The impact is already severe in the western equatorial Pacific. The islands there and surrounding land, including Australia and Indonesia are suffering severe drought.

El Niño conditions are expected to slightly intensify over the next three months, but experts agree that it is unlikely to exceed the ‘moderate’ category in this period. Developments in the Pacific between March and May will be critical in determining whether it persists for the rest of next year, WMO said.

 

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