El Niño Alert: The Strongest Occurrence to Hit in Two Decades Expected by July?

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By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | May 7, 2014 10:55 PM EST

Experts from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has raised the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) tracker to alert level indicating there is 70 percent probability of El Niño occurrence starting by early July.

While one of the seven models indicated the phenomenon may most likely occur by spring in September.

Weather observations revealed the condition could possibly be the strongest to hit in two decades based on the the fast movements of the warm waters toward the east and the surge of sea temperature in the Pacific Ocean.

According to French Tribune, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Climate Expert Dr. Wenju Cai said, "The wind that has caused the warming is quite large and there is what we call the preconditioned effects, where you must have a lot of heat already in the system to have a big El Niño event."

The El Niño warning was raised after climate scientists observed unusual and steady increase in the subsurface sea temperatures to 6 degrees  (up to +6 °C) coupled with the rise in the sea surface temperature during the recent months.

The release of alert level warning was based on the data gathered on sea temperature, wind, climate model and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI).

With this weather phenomenon, it is expected that the southern and inland parts of the country will have below average amount of rainfall during the winter and spring.

The southern part of the country will most likely have warmer daytime temperatures and longer frost season ahead. The northern part may experience usual rainfall in the months of September until January due to the later than normal wet season and monsoon.

It is also expected that there will be increased risk of drought, reduced number of tropical cyclones, and increased risk to fire incidents.

For those who are not familiar with the phenomenon, El Niño occurs when there is increase in the sea temperature in the Pacific Ocean that changes the pattern of the wind direction. As a result, different parts of the world experience flood and drought with the agriculture sector bearing most of the effect.

In an article from Bloomberg, Rabobank International Analyst Tracey Allen noted, "Cane may be exposed to drier-than-normal weather, while palm oil, wheat on the east coast of Australia and cocoa to some extent may also be affected."

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