What is El Niño?
El Niño is a climate sequence that develops an unusual warming of surface waters in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean and it consists of extreme climatic variabilities like heavy rains, winds, drought, etc.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the probability of an El Niño occurrence has increased from 55 percent to 80 percent in June, July, August, and September, with an El Niño alert set to be issued next month.
The Origins of the name El Niño
In Spanish, the meaning of El Niño is The Little Boy or Christ child. The name was used as a reference for the phenomenon to arrive around Christmas. The name was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America as the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, occurring near the beginning of the year.
What are the climatic indicators of the El Niño phenomenon in the Philippines?
- Delayed onset of the rainy season – particularly speaking, the rainy season doesn’t occur in the exact season. It occurs rather later than usual.
- Early termination of the rainy season – earlier end of the rainy season.
- Weak monsoon activity isolated heavy downpour with short duration – weak occurrence of heavy downpours with short duration.
- Far tropical cyclone track – distant scale tracking of tropical cyclones in PAR.
- Less number of tropical cyclones entering the PAR – fewer activities of tropical cyclones entering the PAR.
- Diseases related to water scarcity or shortage such as diarrhea and skin diseases.
- Red Tide Blooms: Paralytic shellfish poisoning.
- Disorders associated with high temperatures: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, exertional heat injury and heat stroke.
What to do?
- Conserve water and use it wisely.
- Protect water sources from contamination.
- Drink more fluids.
- Listen to the updates on shellfish ban.
- Wear light clothing.
- Take a bath every day to cool the body and prevent rashes and skin infections.
What not to do?
- Do not do strenuous physical activities.
- Do not drink from doubtful water sources.
- Do not stay under the sun without proper protection, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. where the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Do not self-medicate.
- Do not drink coffee and alcoholic beverages too much.
El Niño increases the risk of below-normal rainfall, which may have negative effects (such as dry spells and droughts) in particular parts of the country. However, above-normal rainfall conditions may be forecast in the western half of the country during the Southwest monsoon season (Habagat). The PAGASA will continue to pay close attention on the development of this El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. All involved government agencies and the general people are encouraged to continue monitoring and taking preventive precautions in the face of El Niño’s approaching effects.
In case of emergency, you may contact the following hotline:
PAGASA Science Garden Complex, BIR Road, Brgy. Central, Quezon City, Metro Manila 1100
Trunk Line Number: (02)8284-0800
Connecting all offices at PAGASA Central Office Building, Weather and Flood Forecasting Center and Climatology and Agrometeorology Division.
Weather Division Public Information
89271541 1100 / 1101
Climate Monitoring and Prediction Section (CLIMPS), Climatology and Agrometeorology Division (CAD)
8284-0800 local 4920
DOH Central Office, Bldg 15, San Lazaro Compound, Rizal Ave. Sta. Cruz, Manila Philippines 1003
Standards Development Division
8651-7800 Local 2525
Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division
8651-7800 Locals 2502; 2511
Quality Assurance and Monitoring Division
8651-7800 Locals 2528; 2531
Complaint and Action Unit
8651-7800 Local 2527