El Niño Onset: Governments Urged to Prepare for Impact
By Gift Briton
The World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has declared the new onset of El Niño conditions, calling on governments across the globe to remain vigilant and prepare for more extreme weather events.
The United Nations(UN)’s weather agency warns that the commencement of El Niño conditions is likely to fuel global temperature increase and disruptive weather and climate patterns.
El Niño is a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with the warming of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and affects weather and storm patterns in different parts of the world.
“The onset of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” WMO Secretary-General, Prof. Petteri Taalas said.
Prof. Taalas added: “The declaration of an El Niño by WMO is the signal to governments around the world to mobilize preparations to limit the impacts on our health, our ecosystems and our economies.”
According to WMO, El Niño events are associated with increased rainfall in several parts across the globe including parts of the Horn of Africa, adding that in contrast, it can also cause severe drought.
To save lives and livelihoods, governments must establish early warning systems and anticipatory action for extreme weather events associated with this major climate phenomenon, Prof. Taalas observed.
WMO forecasts that there is a 90% probability of the El Niño event continuing during the second half of 2023. However, it is expected to be at least of moderate strength.
Furthermore, El Niño occurs on average every two to seven years, and episodes typically last nine to 12 months that take place in the context of a climate changed by human activities.