La Niña expected to impact worldwide weather patterns
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations relief agency said La Niña is expected to impact weather around the world in 2018 as it urged governments to take early action to prevent crises related to this potentially destructive weather pattern and its counterpart, El Niño.

Greg Puley, chief of policy advice and planning section, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), urged governments and the international community to act early to mitigate the impacts from La Niña and El Niño.

“We know that the earlier we’re able to put in place a response, the more efficient and effective that response can be,” Puley said.

El Niño is the term used to describe the warming of the central to eastern tropical Pacific that occurs, on average, every three to seven years. It raises sea surface temperatures and impacts weather systems around the globe so that some places receive more rain while others receive none at all, often in a reversal of their usual weather pattern.

Its counterpart La Niña is associated with cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures, but it also results in extreme weather.

In 2016, 23 countries – representing 60 million people – had to appeal for emergency aid because of El Niño-related weather events.

While there is never 100 percent certainty that a weather event will happen, the UN relief official urged governments “to be willing to act on the clues.”

He cited insurance, or forecast-based funding, as innovations with “no regrets” even if a predicted event does not happen.

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