News / Science & Technology

El Nino Likely to Trigger Extreme Climate Events

FILE - A devastating drought sweeps across Texas, turning rivers into sand, creeks into mud and lakes into large puddles, The bottom of the pond at the the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area is nearly dried up in Amarillo, Texas.
FILE - A devastating drought sweeps across Texas, turning rivers into sand, creeks into mud and lakes into large puddles, The bottom of the pond at the the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area is nearly dried up in Amarillo, Texas.
Lisa Schlein

The World Meteorological Organization says an El Nino is likely in the third quarter of 2014.

El Nino is a weather phenomenon characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific.

The phenomenon, which recurs at two- to seven-year intervals, has a major impact on the climate around the world. It can also lead to extremes including droughts and heavy rainfall across the globe.

World Meteorological Organization Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch Director Maxx Dilley said sometimes these conditions can be quite extreme.

“You have parts of the world, which experience dryer than normal conditions as a tendency during El Nino years,” Dilley said. “You have other parts of the world, which tend to get wetter. You have parts of the world that tend to get hotter and parts that tend to get colder. So, the effects can vary depending on which region you pick.”

Compares to last El Nino

The World Meteorological Organization said it expects this year’s El Nino to reach the same levels of strength as the last El Nino from 2009 and 2010, which was the hottest year on record.

The 2009-10 El Nino also resulted in abnormally dry conditions over northern Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Drier than normal conditions also prevailed over southeastern Africa and northern Brazil.

It also triggered a lower than normal monsoon rainfall in India and wetter than normal conditions in tropical South America and at subtropical latitudes of North America.

The World Meteorological Organization forecast the El Nino to peak during the last quarter of this year and into early 2015. It said it cannot be sure how intense it will be, but expected an El Nino of moderate strength.

Dilley said the socio-economic impact on regions affected by these extreme climate events can be powerful.

“So, for example when you have a drought, one of the sectors, which is very often affected, is agriculture. It also can affect water supply and water supply could mean irrigation for agriculture or it could mean water into a reservoir for hydropower generation," Dilley said.

"You can have floods, of course. They affect infrastructure. They ... can flood housing. They can cut off transportation links, wash out roads, block bridges. ...," he added.

Warnings aid preparedness

These climate conditions, Dilley said, also can have serious health impacts, such as outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases. It can also increase the incidence of malaria.

Dilley said a number of international organizations are using WMO advance El Nino warnings to make plans to blunt its impact.

For example, he noted the World Food Program is prepositioning food in areas that might be difficult to reach in extreme weather conditions.

WATCH: Related video report by VOA's Zlatica Hoke

Report Urges Governments to Prepare for Extreme Climate Effectsi
X
June 27, 2014 4:25 AM
Many parts of the world have been hit this year with some of the most severe floods caused by torrential rains. A new report by the World Meteorological Organization predicted a return of the weather phenomenon known as El Nino later this year. El Nino is characterized by unusually warm ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific, and it can affect weather conditions worldwide. Zlatica Hoke has this report.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack Wolf from: PA
June 27, 2014 3:11 PM
But, we're already have records broken left and right. And, I bet once El Nino hits, denialist will blame out of sight temperatures on that rather than giving global warming its due.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs