El Niño-pocalypse 2014: NOAA Map Shows Impact Severity around the Globe; How Commodities Move During Such Weather Event (PHOTOS)

By Esther Tanquintic-Misa
May 21, 2014 11:56 AM EST

El Niño-pocalypse 2014: NOAA Map Shows Impact Severity around the Globe; How Commodities Move During Such Weather Event (PHOTOS)

It is without doubt that the "boy child" El Niño has definitely stirred the whole world. While most dread its potential impact, some however gladly await its arrival. El Niño induces droughts in some parts of the world, while it could drench other nations.


California, which had been tinder dry for several months now, is banking on the looming El Niño to break that dry spell.


Indonesia, meantime, isn't excited for the weather phenomenon because it could affect its rubber output. Once El Niño strikes, the country's rubber output, the world's second-largest producer, will drop by an estimated 3 per cent to 3 million metric tonnes this year, Asril Sutan Amir, adviser to the Indonesian Rubber Association (GAPKINDO), told Reuters.


Malaysia remains calm. It said whatever effects El Niño may have on its palm oil tress and production will be felt only in 2015, thus giving the country enough lead time to prepare for the weather event.


"Should there be an El Nino in the coming two to three months, the impact will be felt early next year," the Sun Daily quoted Makhdzir Mardan, chief executive of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, a group of growers.


Barclays Plc in a note on May 8 said sugar, cocoa, palm oil and wheat could be the crops most affected by the 2014 El Nino.


David Jones, head of climate monitoring at Australia's weather bureau, said sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are now going at 0.5 to 1.5 degrees above normal. Normal trade winds have likewise reversed to become westerlies. He further noted sub-surface temperatures have become warmer than usual at 2 to 5 degrees.


''A lot of the precursory signatures of an El Niño event are already out there in the Pacific,'' Jones said.


Just how much this year's El Niño will affect global nations? Researchers at NOAA have released an overview map showing how this particular El Niño could alter precipitation patterns.


See image map here.


"Observations since 1950 indicate that impacts during El Niño depend on the season. The figure shows what changes, and during which seasons, El Niño is expected to bring about across the globe. It must be emphasized that while these impacts are likely during El Niño, they are not certain to occur. The stronger the El Niño, however, the more likely the teleconnection side effects become. There is also some correlation between the strength of the El Niño and the severity of the effects, but, again, it must be stressed that there are no guarantees here either," researcher Anthony Barnston said.

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