El Nino - Southern Oscillation Special Update for the FSM
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): February 12, 2010 - On Thursday, February 11, 2010, the FSM Office of Environment and Emergency Management held a briefing session on the expected effects of the El Nino weather pattern on the FSM. The briefing was conducted by Mr. Charles "Chip" Guard, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) Office in Guam. The briefing was entitled, "El Nino - Southern Oscillation Special Update for the FSM.
As background, El Nino is defined as a periodic change in the currents of the Pacific Ocean that occurs every five to eight years and brings unusually warm water to the coast of northern South America. It often leads to severe climate disruption to countries in and beside the Pacific. In the briefing, Mr. Guard shared information from the Pacific ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) Applications Center on the recent Special Edition ENSO Bulletin that was released, which states that, "El Nino is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere until spring 2010." It also stated that, "A significant El Nino persisted throughout the equatorial Pacific Ocean during January." During much of January, low-level and upper level winds and equatorial rainfall activity over the Pacific were consistent with El Nino. The Climate Prediction Center summarized the conditions in the Pacific as "Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric anomalies reflect a strong and mature El Nino episode."
The briefing explained that in Micronesia, the tropical cyclone threat is likely over, for a while, but could resume for the western half of Micronesia (Chuuk westward) in April or May. Rainfall patterns in Micronesia have been more characteristic of a moderate El Nino, and this has delayed the onset and could shorten this post-El Nino drought. Despite this, after mid-February, all of Micronesia will likely be significantly drier than normal - around 60% of average rainfall, until May or June.
Mr. Guard told the group that while generally ample rainfall has fallen in most of Micronesia, island residents should expect extended dry periods until May or June. Conservation of fresh water resources is highly encouraged for the next 3-4 months.
He said that NOAA will carefully monitor atmospheric conditions for indicators of the development of more severe than expected drought conditions, and that for the entire area, sea levels should remain near normal until around October, when they will begin to rise. Strong trade winds and large ocean swells could cause some coastal flooding until April.
For more information on this, please visit the Pacific ENSO Applications Center at www.soest.hawaii.edu/MET/Enso.
For further information on this release, please contact:
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