La Niña to continue at least until April
Fruit growers will need to prepare themselves for more extreme events as the World Meteorological Association (WMO) expects the current La Niña weather episode to continue for another two to four months.
The update released by WMO said average sea surface temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean have been 1.5 degrees Celsius cooler since August, while temperatures the western tropical Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean have risen well above averages.
“This La Niña developed quickly in June and July 2010, closely following the dissipation of the 2009/10 El Niño. Since its initial development, this event has featured a very strong atmospheric component with the associated indicators showing it to be one of the strongest of the last century, and robust ocean-atmosphere coupling,” the update said.
“It is important to recognize that while the state of El Niño or La Niña may be the most important factor leading to climate risk assessments in many regions, climate extremes may also develop as a consequence of ocean/atmosphere interactions outside of the tropical Pacific.
“Model predictions indicate a continuation of this La Niña at least through the first quarter of 2011, and possibly into April or even May. Beyond that time, the evolution of El Niño/La Niña cycle is uncertain.”