La Niña: Outlook 2020-21 (September 2020)

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La Niña Outlook – Summary

• La Niña conditions are currently active and expected to last until the first quarter of 2021. While forecasts indicate that it is expected to remain weak to moderate, La Nina intensity is not a good guide to the magnitude of possible impacts.

• This assessment includes historical data from previous La Nina seasons and current seasonal forecasts. Areas where La Nina impacts may be expected include the growing seasons of Southern Africa, Eastern Africa, SE Asia (wider Indonesian region) as well as Central America and the Caribbean to a lesser degree.

• Perspectives for the Southern Africa growing season are optimistic given typical enhancement of seasonal rainfall during La Nina events, and indications from current forecasts. Regional maize production tends to be favourable in La Nina seasons.

• In contrast, for East Africa perspectives are quite poor: the coming Short Rains (Oct-Dec) will most likely be drier than average, which will follow a poor harvest in 2020 due to floods and locust impacts. Indicative preliminary forecasts and historical data raise the possibility of drier than average conditions for the Long Rains season of March-May 2021. If realized, very considerable impacts on the food security of already vulnerable populations can be expected throughout 2021.

• For the Indonesian region, wetter than average conditions are expected, balancing favourable agricultural perspectives with enhanced flood risks. For Central America and the Caribbean, following an intense hurricane season, wetter conditions are expected for the last phases of the Postrera season.