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article imageEl Nino's impact is not over as it's sibling looms — Part 1

By Karen Graham     May 1, 2016 in Environment
The current El Nino weather phenomenon which began last year has affected 60 million people worldwide, leaving many countries in desperate need of assistance. But even as El Nino begins to weaken, we are not out of the woods yet.
It is really difficult to assess the full economic damage to the worldwide community that has been caused by El Nino, said to be one of the largest we have experienced.
Looking at Southeast Asia, economic losses will top US$10 billion (S$13.4 billion), says IHS Global Insights. But the cost will actually be much greater than most people realize. The price on the number of lives lost from the extreme heat is incalculable, and the withering drought and water shortages have left millions of people in desperate need of food, water and medical care.
Scientists blame the ongoing 2015-2016 El Nino weather phenomenon  one of the most powerful on reco...
Scientists blame the ongoing 2015-2016 El Nino weather phenomenon, one of the most powerful on record, for the current drought in Vietnam
Hoang Dinh Nam, AFP/File
El Nino wasn't particular in where it struck, with Australia and Indonesia being hit with wildfires, droughts, and severe weather events. The United Nations adds that many island nations like Papua New Guinea have suffered severe water shortages from the devastating droughts, and at least eight countries in Africa and Central America have declared a national state of emergency, including Zimbabwe, Malawi, and El Salvador.
Food shortages and the spread of vector-borne diseases
Stephen O’Brien of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was quoted by News Nation as saying the big concern is the “rising acute malnutrition among children under five and the increase in water- and vector-borne diseases” globally. O'Brien added the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated $115 million (102 million euros) for "life-saving activities," but $3.6 billion was needed to stem further crises.
Set to grow stronger in the coming months  the current El Nino -- a result of shifting winds and oce...
Set to grow stronger in the coming months, the current El Nino -- a result of shifting winds and ocean circulation -- is likely to result is dry conditions in parts of Asia and Australia, as well as southern and sub-Saharan North Africa
Peter Parks, AFP/File
Digital Journal has reported extensively on the rise in the number of waterborne and vector-borne diseases that are turning up around the globe, the Zika virus being one of the most deadly, followed by the yellow fever outbreak in Africa. El Nino has also impacted the fishing industry around the globe, from large mass kill-offs of fish in Chile or declining catches in southeast Asian fisheries.
El Nino on its way out, but here comes La Nina
No one is ever prepared for a disaster, simply because we often don't know when one will strike. But we did know about El Nino, and this recurring weather event, coupled with climate change has been even more devastating than usual. Most developing countries were not prepared for the droughts, famine and water shortages that have hit so hard this past year, even though they knew they were vulnerable.
Conditions in central Nicaragua have worsened further over the past year with El Nino  the cyclical ...
Conditions in central Nicaragua have worsened further over the past year with El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon that warms the eastern Pacific, heating up and drying out much of Central America
Inti Ocon, AFP/File
El Nino is expected to hang around until early summer in some places, but the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has already issued a La Nina watch, reporting that conditions are favorable for La Nina to emerge within the next six months. This forecast is based on the fact that heat content in the central Pacific dropped below average in March for the first time in a year.
In part 2 of this series, we will discuss La Nina, what it is and what we can expect from this weather system. For your information, the worldwide carbon dioxide level for April 30, 2016: was 403.64 ppm ( Scripps CO2 UCSD).
More about El Nino, Droughts, la nina, Flooding, impact on agriculture
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