El Niño over; La Niña in?

Topic |  

El Niño over; La Niña in?

Topic |  

The sudden downpour from time to time hints La Niña phenomenon could be taking over the waning El Niño phenomenon.

In the old pattern, though, El Niño phenomenon only comes every seven years and without necessarily be succeeded by excessive rainfall by La Niña phenomenon. The same way when La Niña phenomenon comes without El Niño phenomenon preceding it.

However, the climate change disrupted the pattern.

El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the warming of the bottom part of the ocean which drives anchovies to the shallower part of the sea.


This is one of the reasons why some school of fish swim nearer the shores.

The latest hot season brought about by the El Niño phenomenon started affecting Bohol in 2014, and worsened towards the end of 2015.

Almost without rainfall, the dry months worsened further in the month of March this year, affecting farm activities.

The agriculture sector which production relies mostly on rain had been most affected.

Last week, Weather Forecaster Hermie Hinlayagan of the local station of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) said the rainy season has already started, but the public must brace for the possibility of excessive rainfall in the advent of La Niña phenomenon, because of climate change.

Hinlayagan also said that in Bohol, around ten towns tend to experience rain in one day at the current pattern.


He added that El Niño phenomenon has already waned and PAGASA head office is set to lift the advisory by end of this month.


Hinlayagan said the El Niño phenomenon had actually started to weaken as of April and continued to wane in the succeeding months.

In fact, the drought/dry spell outlook of PAGASA shows that by end of June, no province in the country would experience “dry condition” anymore.

By then, PAGASA is set to lift the El Niño advisory and shift the watch on La Niña phenomenon.



Bohol, often referred to as the “rice granary of the Central Visayas” has often been threatened by low water levels of its four major dams during the El Niño phenomenon. Sometimes, this needed artificial cloud-seeding to bring down rains to fill the dams and water the arid land.


2nd district Rep Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado, backed by the recommendation from both the Regional development Council and the Provincial Development Council, had endorsed to NEDA Bohol Dam I Phase 3 worth P4.2–B , otherwise known as the North Basin Project (NBMPP) as the long-term solution to the annual long dry spell.

Included in the 2016 budget of the NIA is a P11-Million Feasibility Study budget to analyze the financial needs and aviability of this multi-purpose dam. Upon the results of such study will determine the cash numbers and the players to be involved in this five-pronged multi-purpose basin.

The five includes the irrigation of  19,071 hectares of new rice paddies in Danao, Dagohoy,  Sierra Bullones, Bien Unido and Ubay The second will be harnessing the water pressure to create a 10 megawatt hydroelectric plant to add the static power source in Bohol.

The third is to filter the water to create potable water to the towns of Danao, Dagohoy and San Miguel. The fourth is to create canals for the excess water straight to the sea to avoid flooding in low lying areas like those in Inabanga.

Aumentado said private sector players can bid for participation in the power and potable water aspects as these are money making ventures and intrinsic utility products. Where they can get reasonable returns on their investments. The fifth aspect-tourism with water sports facilities will be contingent on the size of the remaining body of water and the fun activities feasible thereat.


According to Pablito Villegas CEO of Meganomics Specialists International, consultants to the NEDA, “there is no money in irrigation” so no PPP is possible.  It is often seen as a government responsibility to create dams to irrigate the lands of the farmers.

Moreover, the issue of a multi-purpose dam has become a hot topic as there are many dams in the country which are not properly retrofitted.

For instance a dam in Mindoro was erected to service 6,000 hectares of land. However, during the dry season the dam can only irrigate 2.5 % of the area due to lack of water. During the rainy seasons, most of the areas are flooded that only 25% of them can be properly irrigated.

The creation of the bigger dam and the flood prevention program, therefore, are key components of the P4.2 B dam,according to Aris.

However, PAGASA forecast that at least 13 provinces will likely experience dry spell. The list includes eight Luzon provinces—Pampanga, Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Albay, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur; four in Visayas—Guimaras, Iloilo, Biliran, and Northern Samar; and one in Mindnao—Davao Oriental.

PAGASA also forecast that there might be five provinces left to experience drought—Bataan, Zambales, Palawan and Masbate in Luzon; and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao; and none in Visayas.

PAGASA explains that drought advisory is hoisted when an area experiences three consecutive months of having way below normal rainfall condition or more than 60-percent reduction from average rainfall.

Dry spell is when an area experiences three consecutive months of below normal rainfall condition or reduction of rainfall from the average level by 21-60 percent. It is dry condition when this is experienced in only two consecutive months, according to PAGASA.

PAGASA used the rainfall observation in January 2015 to May 2016 and the forecast rainfall for June 2016 as the base.

In its El Niño Advisory No. 16/La Niña Watch, PAGASA confirmed that El Niño phenomenon “continues to weaken” and sees the “increased probability of La Niña to develop”, based on the analysis of both atmospheric and oceanic indicators in May 2016.

“These indicators suggest higher probability of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral condition to occur in May-June-July. Majority of international climate models predict a possibility of La Niña to develop during the second half of 2016. With this current state, La Niña Watch is still in effect. A La Niña event is characterized by a persistent cooler than -0.5 °C sea surface temperature anomalies over the tropical Pacific,” according to PAGASA Acting Administrator Vicente Malano.

Rainfall data culled in May showed that many parts of the country already experienced above normal rainfall “except for the provinces of Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region (except Catanduanes), Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Oriental, Biliran, Northern Samar, Compostela Valley and Surigao del Norte where below to way below normal rainfall conditions were observed”.

Malano added that “further analysis showed that there were twenty-one (21) provinces affected by dry spell and eight (8) provinces experienced drought conditions”.

“Most parts of the country experienced warmer than average air temperature due to the prevalence of ridge of high pressure area (HPA) and easterlies. The highest daytime temperature in the country was recorded at 40.3°C (May 7) in Tuguegarao City. Four warmest daytime temperatures that surpassed their historical extremes were also observed,” Malano stated in El Niño Advisory No. 16/La Niña Watch.


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