La Niña: unprecedented for this century, the duration of the phenomenon

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The La Niña phenomenon causes the sea temperature to decrease in part of the Pacific Ocean, which affects rainfall and climate in some parts of the world.

The current episode of the climate phenomenon La Niñawhich is mainly responsible for its worsening drought in the Horn of Africais expected to be of unprecedented length for this century and to persist at least until the end of the year, the UN announced today.

This is the first La Niña episode this century to last three consecutive winters for the Northern Hemisphere (or three consecutive summers for the Southern), according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

“A La Niña episode lasting three years in a row is truly unprecedented,” underlined the secretary general of the WMO Peter Taalas.

If confirmed, it would be the third time since 1950 that the phenomenon has lasted for three consecutive winters, the WMO noted.

The La Niña phenomenon causes the decrease in temperature of the sea in part of the Pacific Ocean, a fact which affects rainfall and the climate of some parts of the world.

According to the WMO, the current episode was exacerbated by the strengthening of gale-force winds from mid-July to mid-August, which affected temperature and rainfall, and increased drought and flooding in various parts of the world.

“Intensifying drought in the Horn of Africa and southern Latin America bears the hallmark of La Niña, as do heavier-than-normal rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australia,” Taalas explained.

“The latest information (…) unfortunately confirms local climate forecasts, according to which the devastating drought currently affecting the Horn of Africa will worsen and affect millions of people,” he added.

In the Horn of Africa, where the risk of famine is increasing due to drought, it is preparing for a fifth continuous rainy season with reduced rainfall.

RES-EMP

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