El Niño Impacts: Brings Cooler Than Usual June Weather To NZ; Will Disrupt Global Food Security, Says FAO

El Niño Impacts: Brings Cooler Than Usual June Weather To NZ; Will Disrupt Global Food Security, Says FAO
FMSC Staff Trip 2011 – Somali Drought Feed My Starving Children (FMSC)/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Impacts of the El Niño will bring a cooler-than-usual June weather to New Zealand, while potentially disrupting global food security as the Food & Agriculture Organization said it may last through the entire stretch of 2015.


Mark Smulders, senior economist and FAO representative to Indonesia, predicts wheat production will take a hit, dropping by 1.4 percent in 2015-2016. He made the forecast based on the slow developing growth of the present El Niño. He told Bloomberg the event is developing along quite an unusual path which under normal circumstances should have peaked by now. As such, “there might be quite an impact on production and it may last until the end of the year.”

El Niño impacts to the global agricultural sector are extreme scenarios – either too much rain or drought.

In its regular forecast last week, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the weather phenomenon is taking time to develop fully. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said some El Niño events could last for years. The occurrence of an El Niño usually last nine to 12 months.

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“It would be very likely that we wouldn’t see a breakdown until early 2016,” Andrew Watkins, manager of Climate Prediction Services at the bureau, said.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand MetService warned Kiwis to suit up as the strengthening El Niño climate system will bring in a cooler than usual weather in June.

Temperatures in NZ will swing between average and below average, Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said. “Below average June temperatures are expected this year – in sharp contrast to last June, which was the warmest on record for New Zealand.” She said it would be colder than the national June average of 8.4 °C.

“Seas in the New Zealand region are cooling off faster than usual, which is consistent with changes we typically see here during an El Nino winter,” the meteorologist said. “Sea temperatures are important for us, because to a certain extent they influence air temperatures in our coastal regions.”