Dwindling chance of El Niño in second half of year

After scares of possible El Niño conditions returning in 2017, current outlooks predict neutral conditions for this spring.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology changed its El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) outlook to inactive, with the American Climate Prediction Centre doing the same.

“ENSO-neutral is favoured (50 to 55% chance) through the Northern Hemisphere fall of 2017 (Southern hemisphere Spring) with diminishing chances for El Niño through 2017,” the American Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) said in June.

Earlier this year, the American CPC predicted an increasing chance of El Niño conditions developing during the southern hemisphere fall (March to May), and increasing odds for El Niño conditions developing during the second half of 2017.

According to the Australian bureau, trade winds and the Southern Oscillation Index, one of the atmospheric indices to determine the strength of El Niño or La Niña events in Australia, are at neutral levels.

According to the bureau, all eight international models they use to prepare predictions “are likely to remain ENSO-neutral for the second half of 2017.”

In June, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said food security in southern Africa is on the rebound after favourable conditions during the summer rainfall season led to enhanced livestock conditions.

This also means grain producing countries are able to dramatically increase production.

El Niño conditions mostly lead to drought and due to one of the most severe occurrences in 30 years, 50 million people across Africa needed food aid at the end of 2016.

Southern African countries like Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola and Swaziland declared emergency or disaster situations in 2016 because of drought conditions caused by El Niño.


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