October 12, 2010

La Nina Expected To Strengthen Within Coming Months

The U.N. weather agency said on Monday that the disruptive La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific basin should strengthen over the next four to six months, bringing on stronger monsoons and more hurricanes.

Rupa Kumar, World Meteorological Organization climate services chief, said a "moderate to strong" La Nina was now well established.

Kumar Kolli told reporters that forecasts showed "rather a strengthening of this La Nina episode for the next four to six months."

La Nina is the opposite condition of the El Nino weather pattern, which took place in June after being blamed for an exceptionally snowbound winter in North America and Europe.

La Nina is characterized by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific and has been associated with large amounts of rainfall in Asia and Australia, cold weather in North America, as well as droughts in South America.

The WMO expert said the regions typically affected by La Nina expects "enhanced climate change" into the first quarter of 2011.  He predicted a "more active than normal" monsoon.

He also associated it with a more active Atlantic hurricane season.

The WMO said that despite the similarity with previous La Nina episodes, the impact of the latest one on local climates is different than the past.

El Nino and La Nina and the broader impact beyond the Pacific remain misunderstood by WMO scientists, who are also reluctant to establish clear links with climate change.

Ghassem Asrar, head of research at the WMO, told AFP that the number of monsoons with more intense rainfall had increased over the past 50 years.


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