El Niño in the Pacific

Climate forecast

The world has just experienced one of the strongest El Niño events on record and climatologists now say there's an increasinging chance it will be followed by a La Niña event. 

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Rainfall and El Niño

Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. The more populous countries of the Pacific south west will see conditions get drier from now on with some eventually slipping into drought.

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Cyclones and El Niño

An El Niño event increases the number, severity and range of Pacific cyclones. These cyclones will bring much-needed rain to the region but experts warn this kind of rainfall may not do much to immediately alleviate protracted drought conditions.

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Children and El Niño

As El Niño takes hold, UNICEF is calling on the region to protect children from the impacts of drought including hunger, disease and interruption to schooling.

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El Niño in Vanuatu

The arrival of El Niño-fuelled drought could not come at a worse time for Vanuatu which is still recovering from Tropical Cyclone Pam which hit the country in March 2015.

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El Niño in Fiji - 1997/98 and today

The 1997/98 El Niño brought severe drought to Fiji including water and food shortages. Schools were forced to close and the country's economy was hit hard as export crops failed. Many farmers are worried a repeat of this disaster could be on the way.

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Voices from the Field

Fiji's sugar cane farmers are grappling with the drought.



What is an El Niño event?

El Niño is a warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific. La Niña is its opposite. Both can have profound effects on weather patterns around the world. 

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Preparing for El Niño

Communities can prepare themselves so they are more resilient to the impacts of El Niño. Planting drought resistant crops, installing water tanks and good hygiene are among the steps Pacific Islanders can take to get ready for what is to come.

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