State weather bureau PAGASA on Tuesday declared the start of the El Niño phenomenon in the Tropical Pacific and its effects are now expected in the Philippines.
At a press briefing, PAGASA also said it has upgraded its warning status from El Niño Alert to El Niño Advisory.
PAGASA also said the current El Niño is "weak" but shows signs of strengthening in the coming months.
"Isipin niyo po na 'yung El Niño ay galing sa Pacific pero 'yung hangin na dumadating, 'yun 'yung nararamdaman natin, na kulang ang dalang tubig," said Department of Science and Technology chief Renato Solidum Jr. during the press conference.
[Just think that the El Niño comes from the Pacific but the wind that it brings, which we feel, is dry.]
The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below normal rainfall.
PAGASA climate monitoring and prediction section chief Annalisa Solis said they declared the presence of El Niño in the Tropical Pacific after the Oceanic Niño Index reached 0.5°C during April-May-June.
“Yung tinitignan po natin is na-satisfy na yung April-May-June na tinatawag na Oceanic Niño Index na 0.5°C na kung saan El Niño is present in the Tropical Pacific,” she said.
[What we are looking at is the Oceanic Niño Index of 0.5°C that was already satisfied in April-May-June, which means in the Tropical Pacific.]
Due to the El Niño, Solis said that as of June 30, dry spells were already experienced in Apayao, Cagayan, and Kalinga based on the provinces’ three-month actual rainfall.
Dry spell is three consecutive months of rainfall condition with 21% to 60% reduction from the average rainfall conditions or two consecutive months with over 60% reduction.
Also, dry conditions were experienced in Isabela and Tarlac.
Dry condition means two consecutive months of rainfall with 21% to 60% reduction from the average rainfall.
“So ito ‘yung parang nakikita nating early manifestation ng El Niño (So this is like the early manifestation of El Niño),” she said.
While El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, PAGASA earlier said above-normal rainfall conditions during the Southwest Monsoon season also known as Habagat season may also be expected over the western part of the country.
Solis noted that generally near to above normal rainfall conditions are still expected from July to September because the period is the peak of the Habagat season.
The potential effects of El Niño will be slowly evident starting October.
“Pagdating po ng October-November-December-January 2024, dyan po natin unti-unti nakikita yung potential na magiging epekto ng El Niño,” she said.
[Come October-November-December to January 2024, we will slowly see the potential effects of El Niño.]
In a Palace press briefing, Department of Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said the agency would monitor heat-related illnesses during El Niño.
"[It can] actually affect a lot of people in terms of heat-related illnesses from heat exhaustion to heat stroke. So, we need to remind the public about all these diseases," he said.
"That will be the role of the DOH to actually keep this information going out and tell the public what to do and not what not to do," Herbosa added.
El Niño advisory
From “El Niño Alert,” PAGASA raised the PAGASA ENSO Alert System Status to “El Niño Advisory” as it released El Niño Advisory No. 1 on Tuesday.
El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions that may affect sectors such as water, resources, agriculture, energy, health and public safety, according to PAGASA.
PAGASA in May issued an El Niño Alert after forecasts showed that the phenomenon may emerge in the next three months at 80% probability and may last until the first quarter of next year.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in May called for the creation of a team that would focus on mitigating the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. —with Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK/RSJ/VBL, GMA Integrated News