In the first part of this series, published in the March issue of Aboitiz Eyes, we discussed the origins of the El Niño phenomenon and its general impact on the Philippine climate. The following sums up this year’s El Niño in three simple takeaways.
Dismal rainfall amount in the Philippines
The country experienced below-average rainfall from November 2015 to April 2016. While the central and western parts of the Philippines experienced droughts and dry spells, the eastern coastline—including Cagayan, Bicol region, Eastern Visayas, and Davao Oriental—experienced less of El Niño’s effects.
The 2015-2016 El Niño was quite unique compared to previous ones
In comparison with the last strong El Niño we experienced from 1997 to 1998, this year’s phenomenon shows that the sea surface temperatures over the Western Pacific Ocean, which includes the Philippine Sea, had been normal.
This resulted in some shower activity across the eastern sections of Central Philippines. In an intense El Niño, the ocean temperatures are usually cooler than average, thus, triggering an absence of rainfall activity over the Western Pacific Ocean.
El Niño is a recurring climatic phenomenon
El Niño recurs every 2 to 7 years, and typically persists for 9 to 12 months. If it’s a strong one, meaning sea surface temperatures across the Central-Eastern Pacific Ocean deviate from its normal temperature range by 1.5 to 1.9 degrees celsius, then it can possibly recur after 14 to 16 years.
About La Niña 2016
As of end-May 2016, the chances of La Niña occurring between August 2016 to January 2017 is at 60%. During La Niña, sea surface temperatures in the Western Pacific Ocean are warmer than usual, which leads to a higher probability of tropical cyclone formation within the Philippine Area of Responsibility. Tropical cyclones forming closer to the Philippines, in turn, means a shorter distance that limits their ability to further intensify.
Please visit weather.com.ph for more La Niña updates.