Swaziland facing El Niño despite heavy rains

Mbabane, Swaziland (PANA) - Despite heavy rains falling in parts of Swaziland, the meteorology department has said the threats of the current El Niño conditions could have disastrous effects on the country's harvests this season.
Influences of El Niño are, among others, suppressed rainfall and hot to very hot conditions.

The department noted that El Niño weather conditions have already been established in the country but for now they were still moderate.

According to the department's seasonal forecast, the current effects of El Niño are expected to continue for some months.

The forecast was based on inclining sea-surface anomalies in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, which are associated with suppressed rainfall conditions over the country during the rainy season, it said.

Mandla Dlamini, an officer at the meteorology department, said that this meant that the temperatures of the sea surfaces were hotter than normal.

"We have a threshold that we use to measure these conditions and the heating does not necessarily have to be higher than average. Even if they are one percent higher, an El Niño condition can be detected," the weatherman said.

Dlamini said that at present El Niño was more or less taking the shape of the 1991/92 drought.

"Our indicators show that the magnitude of the current El Niño event is moderate but it might differ when compared to the 1991/92 global El Niño impact," he said.

He added: "Should there be no counter developments to the current El Niño event in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, from this forecast Swaziland is anticipated to receive a lower than average rainfall for the period January to March."

The forecast caters only for cumulated rainfall over the three months, meaning there will be rainfall over these months but there is no telling which month will have the most rains.

Dlamini commended the ministry of agriculture for encouraging farmers to plant early maturing maize seed because drought events are never the same.


Pan African News Agency
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