El Nino has ended, but La Nina could return this year

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    Since 2015, the weather phenomenon El Nino has caused floods and droughts around the world. It ended in May of this year, but La Nina, the reverse phenomenon, could manifest itself again in the third quarter of 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (OMN).

    “Atmospheric indicators revealed that the presence of an intense episode of El Nino at the beginning of 2016 almost returned to normal in June and July,” said the WMO on Thursday in a press release.

    El Nino, a phenomenon that occurs every four to five years with variable intensity, causes an increase in temperature of the Pacific Ocean, resulting in droughts and higher than normal rainfall.

    Sometimes, El Nino is followed by a reverse phenomenon, La Nina, caused by a decrease in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean. This leads to a drop in temperature and weather disturbances (rainfall, hurricanes, snow, etc).

    According to the WMO, “La Nina could manifest itself in the third quarter of 2016,” but will not be comparable to the last occurrence of La Nina (2010-2011), which was of moderate to strong intensity.

    Josue Batista, from the Department of Hydrometeorology of the Electric Transmission Company S.A. (ETESA), would agree. He claims that, “Forecasts indicate that the La Nina phenomenon will be felt at the end of the year, but in mild form, with rain precipitations mainly in the Panamanian capital.”

    According to Batista, the phenomenon will not be as strong as had been predicted, because, according to the model monitoring maps, “the curve of cold temperature that the ocean brings has begun to dissipate so that temperatures are not so cold. They were not expected to in the beginning.”

    Batista says that El Nino was already weakened and that it is still very early to ensure that the La Nina phenomenon is already here, or judge how much impact it will have by the end of the year, because the cold conditions of the oceans would have to remain for five months.

    “We are hoping that the rainfall will give us a better idea of what the temperatures will be. Right now, the conditions are warm in the Caribbean Sea and a little cold in the Pacific Ocean, but that has nothing to do with La Nina. It is still necessary to wait,” expressed Batista.

    “If the cold temperatures are maintained during that period (from August to December) then La Nina should be declared; before then, alerts should not be given. But we also have to be alert because additional phenomena can be linked to La Nina, such as more rainfall or a rain deficit,” he added.


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