El Nino this year won't be extreme, says weather dept

El Nino this year won't be extreme, says weather dept
Asia's governments are scrambling to head off the potential impact of a weather phenomenon that in the past has driven food prices to levels that sparked social unrest. They are aiming to reduce the impact of the so-called El Nino, a weather pattern that can bring drought to Australia, Southeast Asia and India.

PETALING JAYA - Unlike the extreme El Nino in 1997 and 1998, the effects this year may not cause widespread or prolonged water shortages, said the Meteorological Department.

Spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip said the intensity of this year's El Nino would be weak and moderate.

"The good news is that we may not see the dry dams and taps which we had in 1997 and 1998," he told The Star.

Dr Hisham pointed out that the last El Nino, between 2009 and 2010, was also moderate and passed with little impact.

"Nobody even noticed," he said.

However, he pointed out that their El Nino analysis was a long-term forecast and underscored that mother nature was unpredictable.

Dr Hisham said the global weather phenomenon occurred every four years on average and could last up to 18 months.

"It develops in the middle of the year and matures in December or January before it weakens and ends in March," he said.

El Ninos starts with the unusual warming of the ocean surface in the tropics before it spreads and affects other parts of the globe.

The last extreme El Nino reportedly resulted in the deaths of an estimated 23,000 people around the world due to extreme hot weather, drought, wildfires, floods and cyclones.

Dr Hisham said that most of Malaysia had good or moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings yesterday.

"We are still in a dry period, which will last for one or two weeks, and there could be some haze," he said, adding that there should be more rain next month.

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