El Niño to drive up Latin America's temperatures in H2

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El Niño to drive up Latin America's temperatures in H2

While a relatively weak El Niño phenomenon is forecast for Latin America this year, it will still raise temperatures and lead to more rain in several countries. The phenomenon has already made itself felt in Peru, but its intensity in the region will be most felt between September and December. At www.freshfruitportal.com we speak with representatives from Chile's Natural Resource Information Center (CIREN) and the Peruvian National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (SENAMHI) about what is likely in store.

CIREN's Dr Rodrigo Cazanga said northern Mexico is in for higher temperatures and more rainfall than usual, while in the country's central and southern regions conditions will be fairly normal, albeit with the probability of drought.

He added the Gulf of Mexico could also be hit by storms during the period.

In the Southern Hemisphere, Cazanga said El Niño would be strongest in September, October and November. Between 20-40% more rainfall is expected in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil, along with a 40-45% increase in temperature compared to normal.

In Bolivia and south-central Brazil, temperatures are also due for a 40-45% rise but rain levels should be normal.

Cazanga said Ecuador was the only country in the Southern Hemisphere set for a reduction in rainfall at 40%, but similar to other countries its temperatures would be 40% higher.

SENAMHI specialist Ena James said the outlook for Peru was different, having been partially affected the phenomenon in its coastal areas since April.

"This warming has been diluted until August. This situation has led to a a warm autumn and part of winter," she said.

However, this situation is changing dramatically due to an anticyclonic system that has helped cool water and consequently reduce temperatures.

"This situation should normalize between September and October."

She said El Niño is appearing in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean and will move towards Peru's northern coast. This means there could be higher rainfall in the north and less rain in the south.

"We have a lot of the export crop in the north, and if the phenomenon El Niño reaches the coast of northern Peru the most affected fruits will be mangoes, rice, cotton, asparagus and artichokes.

"Right now the warming that has reached Peruvian shores has only affected air temperature. It is normalizing. Only if this El Niño which is in the central Pacific arrives on the Peruvian coast, intense rain and flooding could occur, however it is too early for that forecast."

The phenomenon in the Pacific also means drought for Australia, Colombia and northeastern Brazil, as well as the highland areas of Peru, Bolivia and Chile.


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