El Nino

Warning of more cyclones for parts of Pacific as El Niño threatens

The region is forecast to experience an El Niño event, while some scientists have already said it has started.

La Niña is the cooling phase whereas El Niño is the warming phase of the waters in the eastern Pacific, off the coast of South America.

NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll said it means high levels of rainfall is likely for some places like Kiribati - that has been in a long drought - while parts of the western Pacific like Papua New Guinea should be dryer than normal.

Forecasters: Pacific hurricane season depends on El Nino

Chris Brenchley, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Central Pacific Hurricane Center, said at a news conference Wednesday that the region can expect anywhere from five to eight tropical cyclones from June through November.

Brenchley said there is an equal chance of El Nino and neutral conditions in the Pacific this season. 

El Nino is a natural warming of the Pacific that alters weather worldwide.

The average number of storms per year since 1970 is 4.6, but the past four seasons have had above-average activity.

Pacific nations may face droughts, floods if El Niño develops later this year

Conversely, the Eastern Pacific including countries such as Kiribati, Nauru, Northern Cook Islands and Tuvalu would have the opposite effects, with higher rainfall likely to lead to flooding, damage to roads and bridges, and pollution of water sources.

The alert was released this month by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), a regional body for the protection and sustainable development of the region's natural resources. Twenty-two Pacific nations are members.

2016 El Niño a humanitarian crisis, says new climate justice report: ActionAid

This has occurred in a year that has also seen record levels of CO2 and the planet’s hottest ever year.

El Niño blamed for out-of-season central Pacific cyclone

Cyclone Pali is currently above the equator in the ocean between the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, about 1300km southwest of Hawaii.

A forecaster at the US National Weather Service in Hawaii, Alistair Foster, says Pali is one of the earliest recorded in the central Pacific, where the cyclone season is not due to begin for another five months.

El Niño warning bells deafening: early action vital to saving lives

The aid agency said that New Zealand must immediately act on promises made under the new global climate agreement, as evidence suggested climate change may increase the frequency of extreme El Niño occurring.

Around 4.7 million people face hunger, poverty and disease across the Pacific alone due to El Niño-related droughts, erratic rains and frosts. Globally, 18 million people are already in need of assistance.

UN says El Niño getting worse in Pacific

In its latest situation update, the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs says governments are trying to take measure to mitigate the risks of water shortages, food insecurity and disease.

It says the governments of Fiji and Vanuatu are delivering food and water to affected communities, while in Papua New Guinea, three million people are suffering from shortages in the Highlands.

Drought-stricken Pacific nations to brace for likely disease

Disaster officials in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga have reported this week that the situation is already bad and they are expecting it to get worse.

Australian agricultural scientist, Mike Bourke says remote areas such as those in Vanuatu's south, worst affected by Cyclone Pam, will need attention, particularly with treatment of disease.

Bushfires in New Caledonia continue to increase

A total fire ban is in force as firefighters continue to battle dozens of bushfires across the archipelago as a prolonged dry spell continues.

Last Sunday, a helicopter involved in fighting a fire near Voh, about 300 kilometres north of Noumea, crashed, killing its pilot and a mechanic on board.

Only 20 millimetres of rain fell last month, and authorities expect the situation to worsen as what's expected to be one of the worst El Niño systems in over a decade intensifies.

Cyclone shift

Kumar says there is a possibility that the country should expect to have Fiji cyclone season earlier instead of November, the usual month.

He said the official Tropical Cyclone season was from November to April, but records showed cyclones occurred outside the official tropical cyclone season.

“The current El Nino has a potential to change the distribution and frequency of tropical cyclones in the region. Please note that apart from August and September, tropical cyclones have occurred in all other months in the South Pacific,” Kumar said.