AN El Nino weather pattern is not expected to occur in the country this year as forecast in June, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The NWS said yesterday current weather patterns indicated that the country would experience its usual wet season beginning in November.
An El Nino is characterised by a prolonged dry season, similar to the drought experienced in the country in 1997. But the NWS outlook report for September to November indicates that with moisture sources shifting eastwards and trade winds easing, most parts of the country are beginning to experience normal to below normal rainfall. And during this period, more rainfall is forecast for parts of the Highlands and New Guinea Islands. The NWS said the build-up of weather patterns signalling an El Nino at around this time till the end of the year and into early next year had slowed down steadily in recent weeks, despite the June prediction of a dry spell.
In a separate statement, NWS acting assistant director for climate and special services, Kasis Inape, said most El Nino indicators showed that a prolonged drought in the immediate future was unlikely.
According to the NWS outlook report, the tropical central and eastern Pacific Ocean continued to show a warming trend of 0.5 degrees Celsius above the El Nino threshold, causing increased cloudiness near the dateline.
Another indicator of El Nino – the subsurface (ocean) temperature – still remained warmer than normal despite being slightly weaker in June and July.
And yet another El Nino indicator – the Southern Oscillation Index – despite falling steadily in July and August, still remained stable. Currently, the index is neutral at -5.0.
It must be below -7.0 for an El Nino to be declared.