Bracing for the return of El Niño


el niñoHow I wish the nice, favorable weather condition the country is experiencing these days will last a little longer.

But, PAGASA, the country’s weather bureau, says that the cooler spell blowing southeast from China, which becomes our northeast monsoon or the Amihan in the Philippines, would probably last until the end of February only.

It really wouldn’t have matter if it becomes warmer, as we are used to it, but when scientists from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and the US Climate Prediction Center start talking of the potential appearance of El Niño this year, then it becomes not only our concern, but also of the rest of the world.

El Niño, which is Spanish for “the little boy” or “the Christ child,” refers to a type of weather pattern which occurs every four to seven years. It involves the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere.

The phenomenon can trigger drought in some parts in the world, like causing crops (rice, wheat, sugar, etc.) to wither in Australia, Southeast Asia, India and Africa, while raining/flooding are happening in other parts of the globe, such as the US Midwest and South America. It could also be the cause of bush fires in dry areas.

It is said, however, that the appearance of El Niño reduces the risk of severe natural phenomena, such as the reduced number and strength of tropical storms in the east and hurricanes in the west.

While the Philippines is still reeling from the typhoon Yolanda devastation, we just hope and pray that what we will be bracing for is a mild and short-term El Niño and not a severe and long lasting one that will only add up to our woes in terms of reduced food production here and in our neighboring ASEAN countries, which could wreak havoc in supply and cause prices to rocket sky high.


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