Coast KZN

15 Sep 2020

La Niña phenomenon likely to bring “wet and cool” summer conditions

(North Coast Courier) Picture: Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

As summer approaches, many are hoping for rain to bring relief to many parts of South Africa, which have been badly affected by drought. Thanks to La Niña, summer rainfall could be more than expected.

According to Storm Report SA, both the IRI (International Research Institute of Climate and Society) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) agree that La Niña conditions are currently present and are likely to continue through the Southern Hemisphere Summer with a 75% chance.

Photo: Storm Report SA

Models and forecasters agree that it will be a borderline moderate event during its peak which will likey be between November and January. “We could see neutral conditions return by February 2021,” their post read. La Niña summers tend to favor cool and wet (above-normal) conditions over the summer rainfall areas of South Africa.

Photo: Storm Report SA


Photo: Storm Report SA

According to National Geographic, La Niña is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America. It is considered to be the counterpart to El Nino, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean.

Both El Niño and La Niña affect patterns of rainfall, atmospheric pressure, and global atmospheric circulation and it is associated with rainier-than-normal conditions over southeastern Africa and northern Brazil.

As El Niño is no longer predicted for South Africa, KLK Landbou Limited reported that above average temperatures were expected in the northern parts of the country, while cooler conditions were expected for the south and south-western parts of SA towards November.

“Although temperature forecasts were inconsistent during the past few months, it is expected that temperatures across the country will be higher, with the exception of the south-western parts, during early spring,” Cobus Olivier, prediction scientist at the South Africa Weather Service said.

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