• December 2nd, 2020

Dreaded El Nino on its way out… Outlook raises hopes of better rains to come

Deon Schlechter

WINDHOEK - Namibian farmers battling the debilitating drought may have gotten a lay of hope last week when the latest update from Climate Prediction Centre and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society suggested that the El Niño phenomenon is expected to change to the more favourable El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) status within the next month or two.

“A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is expected in the next month or two, with ENSO-neutral most likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter.

“During June, El Niño was reflected in the continued presence of above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. However, SST anomalies across most of the eastern Pacific decreased during the month. The latest weekly ENSO indices were +0.9°C in Niño-4 and +0.6°C in Niño-3.4, with smaller departures in the Niño-3 and Niño-1+2 regions. Upper-ocean subsurface temperatures (averaged across 180°-100°W) were above average at the beginning of June, but returned to near average by end of the month, as anomalously cool waters expanded at depth. Weakly suppressed tropical convection continued over Indonesia, while weakly enhanced convection persisted near the Date Line. Low-level wind anomalies were near average over the tropical Pacific Ocean, and upper-level wind anomalies were westerly over the far eastern Pacific. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Indices were slightly negative.

Overall, oceanic and atmospheric conditions were consistent with a weakening El Niño,” the report states.
All this means a much more favourable chance of better rains when the rain season for Namibia starts around November. According to the report, the El Nino would have subsided by then and prospects for proper downpours could be on the cards.

The prediction is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions who update oceanic and atmospheric conditions weekly on the Climate Prediction Centre web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts are also updated monthly in the Forecast Forum of CPCs Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for August 8, after which Namibians will have an even better indication of what to expect when the rain season starts.

Staff Reporter
2019-07-23 10:00:17 | 1 years ago

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