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Possibility of La Nina Weather Event in the Pacific Ocean Raises Concerns for Global Agriculture

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Early indications suggest that a La Nina weather occurrence could materialize in the Pacific Ocean later this year, as stated by Australia‘s meteorological bureau. If La Nina were to develop, it would have significant implications for global agriculture due to the expected increased rainfall in parts of eastern Australia and southeast Asia, and potential drought conditions in the Americas.

The Australian bureau recently announced a ‘La Nina Watch,’ indicating a heightened possibility of this weather phenomenon taking shape. Historical data reveals that when the criteria for a La Nina Watch have been met previously, a La Nina event has manifested around half of the time.

La Nina events arise from cooler sea surface temperatures in the Pacific region, whereas warmer sea surface temperatures can trigger the opposing weather pattern known as El Nino, which was experienced last year and extended into early 2024.

Sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific have been gradually cooling since December 2023, according to the bureau. Current modeling from the bureau suggests that the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is likely to remain in a neutral state until at least July 2024.

Japan‘s meteorological agency has predicted a 90% likelihood of the dissipation of the El Nino phenomenon by the end of May. Other meteorological forecasts also point towards a potential La Nina occurrence later in the year. Last week, Japan’s weather bureau projected a 60% chance of La Nina forming by November, while a U.S. government forecaster suggested a 69% probability of its development during the July to September period.

Rachel Adams

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