The World Meteorological Organization has revealed that a strong El Nino is gathering at the moment, and this might peak towards the end of the year. This situation is impacting weather conditions and authorities are preparing to develop ways of managing it in any possible way.
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El Nino is a warm ocean current that flows along the equator from the date line and south off the coast of Ecuador at around Christmas period. It is naturally-occurring, and is the result of an interaction between the ocean and atmosphere around the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General noted that countless flooding and drought incidents occurring in the tropics and sub-tropical areas have the signature of El Nino, and this might be the strongest within a 15-year period.
“We are better prepared for this event than we have ever been in the past. On the basis of advice from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, the worst affected countries are planning for El Niño and its impacts on sectors like agriculture, fisheries, water and health, and implementing disaster management campaigns to save lives and minimize economic damage and disruption,” Jarraud said.
“The level of international, national and local mobilization is truly unprecedented, exemplifying the value of actionable climate information to the society. The preparedness for this El Niño will benefit from the systems WMO has been working to strengthen since the last major event in 1997-1998,” he added.
The WMO made this update known the day before an international El Nino conference in New York, and the ultimate objective of the conference was to promote scientific knowledge about the phenomenon, and to measure its impacts and boost resilience to those areas it might affect around the world.
According to Jarraud, “Our scientific understanding of El Niño has increased greatly in recent years. However, this event is playing out in uncharted territory. Our planet has altered dramatically because of climate change, the general trend towards a warmer global ocean, the loss of Arctic sea ice and of over a million square km of summer snow cover in the northern hemisphere.
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“So this naturally occurring El Niño event and human induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways which we have never before experienced,” he said. “Even before the onset of El Niño, global average surface temperatures had reached new records. El Niño is turning up the heat even further.”