El Nino appears to be subsiding, says expert


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 10 May 2016

KOTA KINABALU: The prolonged dry spell that was expected to last until June in Sabah appears to be easing off.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Climatology and Oceanography professor Dr Fredolin Tanggang said persistent rains in the state over the past few weeks indicated that the El Nino-induced dry spell that began in March was on the wane.

He said Malaysia would likely have to brace for heavier-than-normal rainfall by year-end, based on an impending La Nina event.

“I believe that conditions have rapidly returned to normal,” he told The Star, adding that this was obvious from the situation in the Pacific Ocean.

“The current condition shows warmer than normal conditions only in the central Pacific while the eastern part of the ocean appears to be slightly cooler,” said Prof Tanggang.

He said the cooler conditions in the eastern Pacific near South America indicated the initiation of a La Nina event associated with heavier-than-usual rainfall.

The sub-temperature in the Pacific Ocean showed anomalously colder conditions at depths of 50 to 200m from west to east across the Pacific Ocean, indicating the uplifting of thermocline, signs of an impending La Nina, Prof Tanggang said.

“Looking at the anomalous sub-surface temperatures I believe we are heading for a moderate to strong La Nina,” he said.

He said if La Nina occured, rainfall from June should likely be above normal.

These conditions will likely come to head with widespread flooding by the end of November and December and stretching till January for the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, he said.

Prof Tanggang said similar heavier-than-normal rainfall leading to floods would likely occur in Sabah and Sarawak in January and February.

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