Increased possibility for an El Niño in SA

Temperatures across the country were expected to remain above average towards mid-winter. The possibility of an El Niño event had also significantly increased.

Increased possibility for an El Niño in SA
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According to Cobus Olivier, prediction scientist at Weather SA, observations showed that the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) was gradually shifting from a cool to warm phase.

It was, however, still expected to remain within the neutral phase for the first half of 2017. Olivier added that it was, at this stage, still too early to predict its impact on the next Southern Africa summer season.

“Historically, it usually has a significant negative impact on summer rainfall,” Olivier said.

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As the summer season came to an end, above average rainfall conditions for the summer rainfall region were diminishing. Olivier said in a statement that isolated showers could, nevertheless, still occur.

Some forecasting systems indicated a likelihood of above average rainfall for late autumn to mid-winter in the winter rainfall region.

However, there was a significant amount of uncertainty as these forecasting systems tended to provide questionable forecasts for the winter period.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) had been showing a tendency towards a negative phase since November 2016.

However, the system was hovering around the neutral mark at this stage, with a slight inclination to a positive phase during the next few weeks.

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.