Thursday, March 30, 2017

South African Government Says El Nino Drought Likely in 2017

Drought conditions associated with an El Niño weather pattern are likely to reoccur in a few months time, the South African government said Thursday.

"Recurrence of El Niño drought conditions likely ... The next summer season has increased the likelihood for the development of El Niño conditions which are often associated with drought and water scarcity as seen recently in South Africa," the government said in a statement.

The previous El Niño, which faded in May of last year, brought widespread drought to southern Africa, hitting crop production and fueling inflation across the region while leaving millions in need of food aid. South Africa's weather service and global forecasters have predicted that El Niño will form again in the southern hemisphere winter or spring, which falls between July and September.

"The likelihood has increased from previous assessments and as we near the winter period, these forecasts improve in reliability," the government said, Reuters reported.

It said the issue had been raised at a meeting Wednesday of the National Disaster Management Advisory Forum (NDMAF), which coordinates the government's response to such events. The forum will meet again on May 11.
  • If El Niño does return between July or September, it would be the first time it reformed so quickly since the mid-1960s.

El Niño is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that occurs every few years, with global consequences. In Africa it often brings excessive rains to the east while the southern cone gets parched.
 (Tasnim)
30/3/17
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