he World Meteorological Organization (WMO) estimates a 75-80 percent probability of an El Niño developing by February 2019.">
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  • Workers try to unclog a drain after rains that lasted hours in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 28.

    Workers try to unclog a drain after rains that lasted hours in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 28. | Photo: EFE

Published 29 November 2018
Opinion

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) estimates a 75-80 percent probability of an El Niño developing by February 2019.

In its latest global seasonal climate update, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon could appear within in the next three months.

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There is a 75-80% chance of an El Niño developing by February 2019, although it is not expected to be ... as powerful as the event in 2015-2016, which was linked with droughts, flooding, and coral bleaching in different parts of the world," said Maxx Dilley, director of WMO’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation branch.”

The ENSO is an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon that alters the temperatures and marine currents in the Pacific Ocean area. The increased regional temperature induced by ENSO, changes rainfall and temperature patterns, and usually affects agriculture and food security in Asian and South American regions.

The World Economic Forum documents how countries have been most affected by El Niño in the past. Some of the effects result in major drought in Central America, which will worsen the situation of subsistence farmers in the region; major flooding along the desert coasts of Peru; a higher chance of intense storms in southern North America which could affect parts of Mexico and the southern United States; and intense droughts in part of Africa and Asia such Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Malawi.

The WMO also reported the fourth highest global average temperature in 2018 since records exist occurred. 

The collected data indicate that the average global temperature in the first ten months of this year exceeded by approximately 1 degree Celsius that of the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).

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