“Information of Ministers” reviews the climate “El Niño” phenomenon and its repercussions on the agricultural sector

The Information and Decision Support Center of the Council of Ministers issued a new report entitled “The Return of El Niño”, in which it highlighted the definition of the El Niño phenomenon, the extent of its effects on the global economy, as well as its impact on agriculture, and its potential prospects. The report indicated that the “El Niño” caused The world recorded the highest temperature in its history, as the average temperature in the world reached a new high on the third of July 2023; It exceeded 17 °C for the first time, breaking the previous record of 16.92 °C since August 2016, and becoming the hottest and warmest since satellite temperature records began in 1979.

El Niño estimates

The report indicated that, according to estimates, the “El Niño” phenomenon occurs on average every two to seven years, and the episodes usually last from nine to 12 months, and according to data released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the year 2016, which was estimated to be the year The warmest, among El Niño events, saw a rise of 0.99°C above the 20th century average temperature of 13.9°C.

The report added that the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that there is a 90% chance that the “El Niño” phenomenon that began in the last half of 2023 will continue until the end of the year, compared to only 10% expectations for the possibility of a return to the neutral “Enzo” climate pattern between El Niño is very warm and La Niña is very cold.

Meteorological Organization

These estimates come as a result of what the Pacific Ocean is currently witnessing, in terms of events accompanying the “El Niño” phenomenon, as a result of the rapid and fundamental changes in ocean conditions that were observed during recent months, and the chance of returning to the “La Niña” phenomenon, which ended in March 2023, is close to zero. Sometime between 2023 and 2027, the World Meteorological Organization reported that there is a 66% chance that the annual average global near-surface temperature will be 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels for at least a year.

The report sheds light on the planet’s exposure to a double hit of global warming in 2023. In addition to the inevitable rise in global temperature caused by greenhouse gas emissions, the “El Niño” phenomenon began, and this intermittent phenomenon is the largest natural impact on the weather from year to year. , adding another batch of warmth to an already hectic world. The result is severe weather, affecting lives and livelihoods.

Strong weather changes

The powerful “El Niño” weather phenomenon threatens to trigger a series of extreme weather events, impact food rates and quantities, and power outages that could disrupt supply chains and fuel inflation. With the world struggling with rising inflation rates and risks of recession, comes the “El Niño” phenomenon, which in 2015/2016 had a noticeable impact on global inflation. It added 3.9 percentage points to non-energy commodity prices and 3.5 percentage points to oil, and affected the growth of GDP, especially in Brazil, Australia, India and other countries.

Just as the effects of El Niño last for years, climate scientists have also found compound economic effects of the phenomenon, and economists at the Federal Reserve warned in 2019 that damage from El Niño cycles is likely to have a persistent negative impact on production growth, and could alter permanent income streams.

It should be noted that the “El Niño” phenomenon led to a decline in global economic growth in 1982/1983 by $4.1 trillion, and led to a loss of $5.7 trillion of GDP in the five years following 1997/1998, and that by the end of the current century it will lead to Loss of about $84 trillion in GDP, and as temperatures rise, power grids around the world struggle to keep up, driving up demand for fuel; Including coal and gas.

The report stated that since 2020, the Earth has experienced a prolonged period of La Niña, which ended in March 2023. After a short, neutral phase, the “El Niño” phenomenon began on June 8, 2023. While the duration and intensity of this phenomenon remains uncertain, climate prediction models show that It is more than 90% likely that the phenomenon will continue until February 2024, and the potential effects of this phenomenon are:

Heat waves: The additional heat generated by El Niño is expected to temporarily push the global temperature beyond the 1.5°C threshold between 2023 and 2024, and higher-than-average temperatures are likely to lead to more frequent and intense heat waves in In the coming months, historical observations and climate models typically point to higher-than-average temperatures during El Niño years in the tropics and subtropics.

Drought: Above-average temperatures and drier conditions resulting from the El Niño phenomenon are expected to cause severe droughts.

Hurricanes: The “El Niño” phenomenon usually enhances the activity of hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific basins, exposing a number of countries to more frequent and severe hurricanes.

– Floods: Through heavy rains or droughts followed by heavy rains, the “El Niño” phenomenon increases the risk of flooding in some parts of the world, and by the end of 2023, flood risks are expected in the coastal regions of East Africa.

Disease outbreaks: El Niño increases temperatures and changes precipitation patterns, creating favorable environments for the survival of waterborne pathogens and infectious disease vectors such as mosquitoes. This situation exacerbates disease outbreaks and shifts the spread of infection to previously unaffected areas.

Crop pests and diseases: Increased temperatures and irregular precipitation patterns associated with El Niño can lead to an increase in the spread of zoonotic and foodborne diseases, plant pests, and fungal and bacterial diseases.

Wildfires: During El Niño, fire-prone areas around the world experience unusually warm and dry conditions, and wildfires become more frequent in some parts of the world.

The report dealt with the impact of the phenomenon on a number of crops, as follows: rice, corn, and soybean crops, as well as affecting global sugar prices. With the possibility of cascading effects on the global food supply chain, leading to a reduction in food availability and negative impacts on food production, demand for it, and export costs. , which will affect meat prices in the long run. It is also estimated that El Niño may affect yields in more than a quarter of the world’s croplands, with impacts varying depending on location, crop species and stages of the phenomenon.

The report referred to what the World Meteorological Organization predicted in a report published in May 2023, with a 98% probability that one of the next five years – and this five-year period as a whole – will break records in terms of global temperature, displacing the years 2016 and 2020 from 1 for the warmest year on record.

Moreover, the World Meteorological Organization recently explained in its Regular Seasonal Global Climate Update for August and September that predictions of generally warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in ocean regions contributed to the widespread prediction of higher-than-average temperatures. The World Meteorological Organization noted the need for governments to prepare for more extreme weather events and high temperatures during the coming period, coinciding with the “El Niño” phenomenon.

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