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PAGASA issues El Niño Watch

Gaea Katreena Cabico - The Freeman

MANILA, Philippines — State meteorologists on Thursday issued an El Niño Watch, indicating the increased likelihood that the weather phenomenon characterized by warming ocean temperatures will develop in the first third quarter of 2023.

An El Niño Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of El Niño within the next six months and the probability is above 55% and above.

In a briefing, PAGASA said that El Niño "will likely develop in July-August-September 2023 season and may persist until 2024."

El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could lead to dry spells and droughts in some areas of the Philippines.

However, above-normal rainfall conditions may be also experienced in the western part of the country during the southwest monsoon (habagat) season

The neutral phase of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) — or the recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific — is currently happening and will continue until June.

The last El Niño event in the country occurred from the last quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019.

El Niño preps

El Niño can deplete water supplies and cause significant losses in agricultural production.

In 2019, Metro Manila and neighboring provinces experienced water shortage as the El Niño contributed to a massive decline in rainfall. The damage brought by the phenomenon to agriculture reached around $8 billion.

“We have a window for anticipation. One good anticipatory action is capturing what is available during the rainy season,” Thelma Cinco, weather services chief of PAGASA’s climatology and agrometeorology division, said in a briefing on Thursday. — Philstar.com (FREEMAN)


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