La Niña not likely this year
There is little to no possibility of the La Niña climatological phenomenon recurring this year, according to the weather models studied by the weather bureau.
In fact, Analiza Solis of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Climatological and Agrometeorological division said sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean remains “neutral.”
And this neutral condition is “favored to continue throughout September to November,” Solis said.
She said there is a 50- to 55-percent chance of conditions remaining neutral in the Philippines until the end of the year with 18 out of 25 climate models predicting the same.
But, Solis said, there is a 28-percent chance of El Niño developing in 2017 with seven climatological models predicting hotter and drier weather.
“There are negligible chances of La Niña, but there are higher chances of El Niño or neutral conditions by the end of 2017,” Solis said.
El Niño is a collective term for a set of anomalies in sea surface that cause fewer rain in different parts of the Pacific Rim while La Niña causes more rain.
The weather bureau made the clarification after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a memorandum urging local government units to start preparing for La Niña this year.
In a statement last June 15, the DILG said Pagasa was “keeping watch on the development of La Niña as the tropical Pacific continues to exhibit cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures.”
‘Neutral’ sea surface temps
Pagasa, however, clarified that that was just a speculation and actual sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific remains “neutral,” meaning there is no La Niña or El Niño phenomenon present.
“So regarding the report we heard yesterday about La Niña, there’s actually very little chance of La Niña developing,” Solis said.
“Based on climatological probabilities, there are negligible chances of La Niña, but there are higher chances of El Niño or neutral conditions at the end of 2017,” Solis said.
For June so far, Pagasa noted way-below to below-normal rainfall conditions in the country, especially in Luzon. No tropical cyclones entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) in May until the present.
9-14 cyclones until Nov
“The last time we had no [tropical cyclone] in May was in 1998. That was an El Niño year,” Solis noted.
Hence, “weak La Niña years” suggest that only one or two tropical cyclones are expected to enter or develop in the PAR this June.
For the rest of the month, Pagasa forecasts generally near-normal rainfall conditions in the country, with only patches of above-normal rainfall conditions especially in Luzon.
Nine to 14 tropical cyclones more are expected to hit the Philippines until November, Pagasa said.
Pagasa advised the public to monitor their official channels either through their website or social media accounts for weather updates and assessments.
The Pagasa has started streaming weather reports and briefings live on its Facebook account.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.