Signs of another El Nino : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

16/02/2001 10:15 - (SA) Signs of another El Nino

Canberra, Australia - Meteorologists have detected possible signs of a new El Nino, the Pacific Ocean climate pattern that can bring drought and bad weather to Southeast Asia and other regions.

Australian National Climate Centre meteorologist Robert Fawcett said on Friday that two of eight computer climate models monitored by the centre are predicting rising Pacific Ocean temperatures, a precursor to El Nino.

"Two of the models are saying that some of the necessary factors for El Nino are in place," Fawcett said.

"At this stage it is a possibility, but we don't think the probability has reached 50 percent yet. But because of the possible consequence of El Nino we are monitoring it closely," he said.

El Nino occurs, on average, every seven years, bringing drought to some regions of the world and heavier rainfall to others. The last three occurred in 1982-83, 1993-94 and 1997-98.

In 1997-98, warmer sea temperatures and a lack of trade winds in the eastern Pacific affected monsoon rains in Southeast Asia.

El Nino wreaked havoc throughout Southeast Asia, where severe drought and decades of logging produced extensive forest fires. It also devastated Papua New Guinea, where a combination of prolonged drought and associated frosts in the highlands destroyed crops across the island.

In 1982-83, El Nino caused a drought in Australia wiping an estimated two billion Australian dollars ($1.05 billion) off the nation's farm production.

Fawcett said the climate centre would continue monitoring data over the next few months as the El Nino pattern developed in the Pacific during the southern hemisphere's autumn, from around March to June.

"Our expectation is if don't go into an El Nino in the next several months, then we would not expect one to start until at least before next year," he said. - Sapa-AP,1113,2-13-46_982095,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (, February 17, 2001

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