The 2015-2016 El Niño is expected to be one of the strongest in the past 50 years. We already see the severe impact on food security. How are vulnerable communities coping? And what is Concern doing to support affected communities?
Every two to seven years, an unusually warm pool of water develops across the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. This phenomenon, known as El Niño, can last up to 18 months and affects oceanic and atmospheric circulation across the globe, shifting climate away from the norm.
El Niño can lead to weather-induced disasters such as floods, hurricanes, drought and famine. In 1997-1998, the strongest recorded El Niño killed some 21,000 people and caused damage to infrastructure worth US $ 36 billion.
Indicators are showing that the current El Niño could surpass this as the most powerful on record. In Ethiopia, in 2015, rainfall in parts of the country was the lowest recorded for the last 55 years leading to severe drought. Meanwhile, in some areas of Somalia, heavy rainfall last December, driven at least in part by El Niño, led to serious flooding, destroying crops and delaying planting. We’re still in the thick of the 2015-2016 event, and even the experts can’t be sure exactly how bad it will get.
We can’t be sure exactly what to expect. Our planet has changed dramatically since the last big El Niño in 1998. With climate change and the general trend towards a warmer global ocean […], this El Niño is playing out in uncharted territory.
(World Meteorological Organisation)