Experts: Mexico not ready for climate phenomena like El Niño, La Niña

Hermosillo, Mexico, Apr 23 (EFE).- Experts warn that Mexico is not ready to deal with climate phenomena like La Niña and El Niño, the latter of which could beset the country – and the world – in late summer 2023 while the northwestern part of the country is already facing temperatures above 40 C (104 F) during the current “neutral” phase between the two weather patterns.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a new report on the high temperatures experienced in recent years all over the planet and predicts that it’s going to get much hotter and drier, but there will also be more severe flooding, with an “extreme” El Niño weather pattern that will begin manifesting itself toward the end of the summer.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is a natural phenomenon characterized by fluctuating ocean temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific’s equatorial region, a pattern that is associated with changes in the atmosphere.

After three years of La Niña, with this spring being a neutral phase in between these two similarly named weather phenomena for which Mexico, just like other countries, should be preparing.

However, experts say that Mexico is not putting enough preventive public policies in place but rather, in general, simply reacting to events as they unfold.

“I think that it’s rather reactive. Unfortunately, the system of handling the drought and the excess water (is like that),” said America Nallely Lutz, a professor and researcher at the Colegio de Sonora, a professional training institution.

The northwestern state of Sonora is particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis, given that so far in April it has suffered amid temperatures in excess of 40 C.

“Why is it reactive? These kind of phenomena are cyclical and what you observe is that regarding the water consumption level in cities, with ranchers and farmers, recommendations are made to them but it still isn’t coming into the public and government consciousness that these cyclical phenomena require planning,” she said.

Currently, the WMO and the national weather services of Mexico and the United States have established that the world is in a neutral phase between La Niña and El Niño but experts warn that, in late summer, an extreme El Niño could become evident.

“Right now we’re in a neutral phase, but there’s talk about the high probability that we’ll get an El Niño phase in the late summer … extending into the autumn and start of winter, during which we’re expecting more humidity and more rain,” she said.

“Up to a certain point, it’s (necessary) to prepare oneself for the emergency, that is to tell people to prepare as much as they can, as early as they can,” she added.

Gilberto Lagarda Vazquez, who is in charge of the weather department within the National Water Commission for the Cuenca Northwest section (Conagua) said that these phenomena “create climatological changes, like rain, droughts and high temperatures.”

But he called for understanding that in Mexico there are various impacts, like in the country’s northwestern desert regions.

“Curiously, in general what happens in the country is that when there’s a La Niña in summer it’s quite rainy, something that doesn’t happen with us (here) and when there’s an El Niño in the summer it’s dry, something that also doesn’t correspond,” he said.

The WMO’s “Provisional State of the Global Climate Report 2022” warns that the period from 2015-2022 were the eight hottest years on record despite the impact of the cooling of an event like La Niña over the past three years.

Thus, he is warning that during an El Niño, which creates warm waters, heat within the environment and rain, the public should be more prepared and governments should be implementing preventive measures and mandating measures for sustainable use.

EFE –/bp

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