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La Nina Conditions Developing In Tropical Pacific

  • Lisa Schlein

La Nina Conditions Developing In Tropical Pacific

La Nina Conditions Developing In Tropical Pacific

The World Meteorological Organization reports cool-neutral to weak La Nina conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific following the rapid dissipation of El Nino in early May. WMO says these conditions are likely to strengthen over the coming months, adding to extreme climate events in some parts of the world.

La Nina is characterized by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. It is the opposite condition of El Nino, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

The World Meteorological Organization says both events can disrupt normal weather patterns and can have widespread impacts on climate in many parts of the world.

Chief of WMO World Climate and Water Department, Rupa Kumar Kolli, says the developing La Nina will have no major implications for Africa. However, he says other parts of the world will not be spared.

'Typical La Nina events usually associated with stronger monsoons in most parts of Asia and also Australia," Kolli said. "A La Nina event is also associated with an active hurricane season in the tropical Atlantic. So these are some of the risk factors that should be kept in mind."

Kolli agrees La Nina could exacerbate the problems that already exist in the Gulf of Mexico because of the massive oil spill. But, he adds La Nina by itself is unlikely to play a role in that region.

"But…considering that there is a possibility for an active hurricane season, the hurricanes definitely have the potential to churn up the sea and also play a role in the spread of the oil spill in some ways," Kolli said. "But, this all depends upon the track of the hurricanes and the strength of the hurricanes and many other factors associated with individual hurricane events."

The World Meteorological Organization says it is likely La Nina conditions will further develop in the next few months. But, it notes the timing and magnitude of such an event are uncertain.

In light of what is currently known, WMO Officials advise regions typically affected by La Nina events to be aware of the enhanced risk of such events this year and to prepare for them.