15 Nov 18 - Source: Myanmar Times - Weather predictions indicate that El Nino might be coming to Myanmar during the winter season, meteorologists said.
"El Nino is forecast to happen this year, but it will be weak to moderate," said U Kyaw Moe Oo, director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. The World Meteorological Organisation said in September that El Nino in 2018-19 will not be strong like the one that occurred in 2015-16, but it underscored the need to be prepared in order to avoid casualties and mitigate damage and economic losses.
El Niño is a warming of the surface waters in the Pacific Ocean that occurs once every four to seven years and affects weather across the globe. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on November 8 that temperatures on the surface of the Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal, and there is an 80 percent chance of El Nino forming at the end of the year and continuing until March 2019.
This could lead to abnormal weather conditions such as high temperatures, droughts and storms. Moderate to strong El Nino years can produce dry and extreme weather in Myanmar. In the El Nino of 2015-16, the country experienced record high temperatures and drought. Droughts and climate change could cause water shortages and crop losses, so weather-resistant seeds are recommended. People should also be ready to avoid heat-related health problems, said U Kyaw Moe Oo.
Farmers should prepare wells and ponds to ensure a sufficient water supply when El Nino strikes, said U Khin Maung Soe, who grows flowers and other crops in Patheingyi township, Mandalay Region. Farmers in Ayeyarwady Region are also worried about heat, said U Than Sein, an official in Pauk Kone village, Maubin township. "I am worried that the rice yield will decline in the hot season when water is scarce. Creeks will mainly be relied on for water. Wells and lakes cannot supply enough," U Than Sein said.
Since 1950, the strongest El Niño climate events in the country have happened in 1972-73, 1982-83, 1997-98 and 2015-16.