WINDHOEK: The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) has forecasted that the El Niño phenomenon is looming, but in a weak and warm phase, which is projected to persist into early 2013.
Local weather forecaster at the Namibia Meteorological Services Isabella Kapolo confirmed on Monday that the climate pattern, which refers to the extensive warming of the central and eastern Pacific that leads to a major shift in weather patterns, would not be so strong.
“El Niño is most likely not to be strong, but very weak,” she explained.
El Niño is still being closely monitored for any impact on global weather, as it will strike as the world seeks to prevent a potential food crisis, with harvests falling short of needs for the coming year because of unusual weather patterns.
Meanwhile, experts predicted during the Agricultural Outlook Conference that took place in South Africa, Pretoria at the beginning of this month, whose outcomes were published by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) on its website on Friday that there is a 70 to 80 per cent chance that an El Niño weather pattern is busy developing.
The weather pattern will have a great impact on the expected rainfall for the next season.
The western parts of Southern Africa, which includes Namibia, can be affected negatively by an El Niño phenomenon.
There are also indications that southern Africa is entering a dry cycle, which has to be taken into consideration.
Farmers are, therefore, being warned not to take short-term decisions with regard to production methods, and that production conditions should not be overestimated.
The first part of the rainy season (September to December) should be an indication of what could be expected.
If good rainfall is experienced in this part of the season, it can be expected that the second part of the season (January to April) will be poor, the experts added.
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), or El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation is a quasi-periodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean roughly every five years.
The Southern Oscillation refers to variations in the temperature of the surface of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean (warming and cooling known as El Niño and La Niña respectively), and in air surface pressure in the tropical western Pacific.
The two variations are coupled: the warm oceanic phase, El Niño, accompanies high-air surface pressure in the western Pacific, while the cold phase, La Niña, accompanies low-air surface pressure in the western Pacific.