ENSO Impact Outlook: Papua New Guinea 2017/2018

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Key Messages

• Though the latest (early-May) ENSO forecasts indicate a 50% chance for El Niño condition to develop during the second half of 2017, models predicting El Niño at this point of time (May) are constrained by autumn barriers and hence predicting manifestation of El Niño conditions accurately is difficult.

• As there are uncertainties on El Niño development at this stage, it is necessary to adopt a caution and develop a graduated and dynamic approach to evaluate possible potential impact pathways and put in place a range of contingency plans.

• Four possible ENSO scenarios are evolved considering the uncertainties of possible ENSO conditions during the second half of 2017 viz. neutral condition; weak, moderate and strong El Niño. The ENSO associated impacts observed during past years is presented in this outlook document.

• The impacts of El Niño on rainfall patterns vary across PNG. In the past, the strongest El Niño resulted in drier condition over the western provinces, highlands, and eastern islands of Milne Bay during El Niño years.

• Due to lack of relevant data a detailed district level risk assessment is yet to be undertaken. However a preliminary exercise has been carried to assess risk at district level in highland regions with available research. It is revealing that some of the districts in this region suffered from El Niño associated drought/frost hazards in most of Strong, Moderate, weak El Niño Years and few of the neutral years.

• The priority sectoral agencies could prepare contingency plans based on the four impact scenarios presented in this outlook document and adopt a graduated approach and dynamically adjust contingency plans based on upcoming El Niño forecasts.