The Impacts of El Niño

According to the study released by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, there is a high chance of El Niño hitting Southeast Asia in the middle of this year. Some countries in Southeast Asia believe so because dry spells are starting to happen. In Malaysia, they use the El Niño Southern Oscillation Model and it yielded a 70% probability of El Niño.


Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) gave explanation about El Niño. According to NEA, El Niño is a phenomenon that happens every 2 to 7 years. It lasts about eighteen months. So far, the worst El Niño that happened in Singapore was in 1997. It brought prolonged dry season that affected the livelihood and lifestyle of many Singaporeans.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that characterizes abnormal warming of ocean waters. Over the years, the abnormal warming seemed more powerful. You should know that El Niño is not an isolated event because almost all countries experienced it at some point in time. It is important that you are aware of the impacts of El Niño so you will understand it. Here are some impacts:


  • Alteration of weather: It was mentioned earlier that El Niño is brought by abnormal warming. The temperature changes can affect our lifestyle. Apart from the temperature changes, El Niño can also cause precipitation changes. You should expect rare rains.
  • Natural disasters: El Niño can cause natural disasters like fires and drought. The government and the citizens should be vigilant for forest fires. It can also cause drought which will eventually lead to low or critical water supply.
  • Economic losses: Who will forget about the economic losses of El Niño? In some parts of Southeast Asia that rely on agriculture for a living, El Niño will only make things worse. Farmers are clamouring for rainfall to nourish their plants but there is none. The worse-case scenario is famine.

Despite its impacts or effects, El Niño has benefits. El Niño can effectively halt hurricanes and cyclones in the North of the Atlantic. For countries that are experiencing winter, El Niño will bring about milder winters. For diseases that live in moist cultures, El Niño will halt them. For example, lower malaria cases are noted in Southeast Africa because of the drier weather.

It is hard to see the brighter side especially if you are directly suffering from its negative effects but we cannot change the call of nature. El Niño may be bad for others but it is good for some. Maybe the lesson here is to be resilient of whatever will come.