El Niño now over, says US Climate Prediction Center
The mild occurrence of El Niño, which Philippine economic managers cited as one of major challenges that would impact on growth, is now over as sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in equatorial regions of eastern Pacific Ocean dived below normal.
In its “final El Niño advisory,” the United States’ Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society declared a “neutral status,” which meant the absence of the phenomenon that brought abnormally dry conditions to the Philippines as well as La Niña which brought abnormally wet conditions.
“In July, (neutral) conditions were reflected by the combination of below-average (SSTs) in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and above-average SSTs in the central Pacific,” CPC said.
The agency added that “anomalously cool waters prevailed in the eastern Pacific and anomalously warm waters continued in the Central Pacific.”
The neutral status is considered most likely—with a 50-percent to 55-percent chance—to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-2020.
Last week when the government announced second-quarter results for the Philippines’ economic performance, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said El Niño was seen to be responsible for the contraction in the output of the water-sensitive crops such as palay and corn.
Philippine gross domestic product grew by 5.5 percent in the second quarter. During the period, output palay shrank by 5.5 percent and that of corn by 8.4 percent.
“This is why we must equip the agriculture sector with an effective climate change and disaster risk reduction program that will reduce production losses owing to weather disturbances,” Pernia said.
“In addition to insurance programs, we must introduce technological solutions in order to build resiliency,” he added.
Still on El Niño, Pernia said that while the latest occurrence of El Niño was mild, the impact on water supply—particularly in Metro Manila—was severe.
“(T)his adversely affected consumer confidence, resulting in a slowdown in household consumption,” he said.
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