Luzon Provinces Brace for Drought as El Niño Intensifies

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RICEFIELDS IN TAGUDIN ILOCOS SUR WAS AFFECTED BY DROUGHT CAUSED BY EL NINO PHENOMENON...
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MANILA, Philippines: The effects of the El Niño phenomenon are expected to bring drought to at least 17 provinces in Luzon by the end of the month, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Pagasa Officer-in-Charge Nathaniel Servando informed The Manila Times that the provinces likely to be affected include Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Pampanga, Tarlac, Batangas, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, and Palawan.

In addition, a dry condition is expected to prevail over the Spratly Islands, while a dry spell is likely to occur in Abra, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Quirino, Bataan, Bulacan, Zambales, Aurora, Occidental Mindoro, and Metro Manila.

Pagasa defines a dry spell as three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall conditions or a 21 to 60 percent drop in average rainfall. A dry condition, on the other hand, is characterized by two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall or a 21 to 60 percent reduction in average rainfall. Drought is defined as five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall conditions or three consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall conditions, with a reduction of more than 60 percent from the average.

Servando explained that a strong El Niño is currently present in the tropical Pacific and is showing signs of intensifying further in the coming months, with sea surface temperatures reaching more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This intensification of the El Niño phenomenon increases the likelihood of below-normal to way below-normal rainfall conditions, potentially leading to dry spells and droughts in certain areas of the country until the first or second quarter of 2024.

“This may adversely affect various climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, energy, health, public safety, and other key sectors,” Servando warned.

Meanwhile, Pagasa’s 5 a.m. advisory stated that the northeast monsoon, locally known as “amihan,” will affect Luzon, including Metro Manila, within the next 24 hours. The easterlies, along with localized thunderstorms, are bringing isolated light rains and thunderstorms to the rest of the country.

The impending drought in Luzon is a cause for concern, as it has the potential to significantly impact the affected provinces and various sectors that rely on adequate rainfall for their operations. The agricultural sector, in particular, may face challenges in crop production and water resource management. Additionally, the reduced availability of water resources may have implications for energy production and public safety.

It is crucial for local authorities and stakeholders to closely monitor the situation and implement appropriate measures to mitigate the potential effects of the drought. This may include water conservation efforts, efficient irrigation systems, and support for affected farmers and communities.

Furthermore, it is important for individuals to stay informed about the weather conditions and follow any advisories or guidelines provided by Pagasa and local authorities. By staying prepared and taking necessary precautions, communities can better navigate the challenges posed by the El Niño phenomenon and its impact on the region.

As the El Niño phenomenon continues to intensify, it is imperative for governments, organizations, and individuals to prioritize climate resilience and adaptation strategies. This includes investing in sustainable water management practices, promoting climate-smart agriculture, and implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By working together and taking proactive steps, we can mitigate the potential impacts of the El Niño phenomenon and build a more resilient and sustainable future for all.

Source: The Manila Times

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