April 2, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Thursday said the chances of a La Niña phenomenon occurring by end of the year is now at 50 percent.
In its latest climate outlook bulletin, PAGASA said a La Niña event will likely begin by October.
La Niña, which is the opposite of the El Niño phenomenon, is the periodic cooling of surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
During La Niña, many parts of the country will experience near normal to above normal rainfall conditions, particularly over the eastern sections of the country.
La Niña is also characterized by strong monsoon activity and formation of more tropical cyclones.
Anthony Lucero, officer-in-charge of PAGASA’s climate monitoring and prediction section, earlier said a La Niña typically last between nine and 12 months, but some events may persist for as long as three years.
He noted that a La Niña usually occurs after a very strong El Niño event, similar to what happened in the previous El Niño years.
He said back in 1997 to 1998, when the country experienced one of the worst El Niño events, a La Niña rapidly followed.
The current El Niño being experienced in the country is among the four strongest El Niño events since 1950.
According to PAGASA’s bulletin, the prevailing El Niño is decaying and will weaken further in the months ahead.
It noted that the phenomenon, which is associated with below-normal rainfall, would still likely end by July.
Although waning, PAGASA said El Niño would continue to cause below normal rainfall and warmer air temperatures in the country in the next few months.
Due to the prevailing El Niño, the state weather bureau said at least 38 percent of the country or 30 provinces will likely experience drought by end of the month.
By end of May, areas in the country that may suffer drought were estimated at 29 percent or 23 provinces, while four percent or three provinces will experience the same by end of June.
PAGASA said there would be “zero” or no areas in the country that is expected to suffer from drought and dry spell by end of July and August.
The state weather bureau described drought as three consecutive months of “way below” normal rainfall condition, while it defined a dry spell as three consecutive months of “below normal” rainfall condition.
Meanwhile, PAGASA expects at least three to seven tropical cyclones to affect the country between April and August.