Caribbean be warned: El Niño looking more likely – it may be a ‘significant event’

Caribbean be warned: El Niño looking more likely – it may be a ‘significant event’

By: Caribbean Business Report

A joint media release by The UWI Global Institute for Climate Smart and Resilient Development (The UWI GICSRD) and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) concludes that it is increasingly likely that an El Niño will emerge in the next few months.

El Niño is the term used to refer to warmer than usual ocean surface temperatures near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. Over the past three years, the Pacific waters have been cooler than average due to an unusually persistent La Niña. However, La Niña ended in March and the ocean temperatures in the Pacific, both at the surface and a few hundred meters below are warming so quickly that many major atmospheric centres globally are not only
warning of emerging El Niño conditions but suggesting it may be a ‘significant’ event.

The research shows that during an El Niño, the Caribbean is prone to be dry, or even ‘very dry’. The 2009-2010 and 2014-2016 droughts, considered two of the most severe to impact the Caribbean in recent memory, occurred
during El Niño events. El Niño events are also associated with a reduced number of hurricanes due to less than conducive conditions for development caused by stronger upper atmospheric winds. However, the region has been reminded that one hurricane can cause major damage, so be on guard.

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