La Nina officially underway in the Pacific – SPREP

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Tagaloa Cooper, the Director of Climate Change Resilience. Picture: RNZ

La Niña is officially underway in the Pacific, the Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has confirmed.

And SPREP has stated that the central Pacific region such as Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu may experience below normal rainfall during this period, while islands in the South-West Pacific would experience higher than normal rainfall, such Fiji, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Southern Cook Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Tagaloa Cooper, the Director of Climate Change Resilience, stated this phenomenon would have a direct impact on the lives of people in the Pacific.

“They will affect our food crops, our hygiene in the time of COVID-19, and our safety with the impacts of tropical cyclone season and floods or landslides in some parts of the region and potential drought in others,” said Ms Cooper.

“We must all make an effort to know what is happening with our weather and climate and prepare ourselves for what may come, the more we can prepare, the more resilient we will be.”

While the impacts of La Niña may vary from country to country, SPREP stated that those in the Central and Eastern Pacific may be more susceptible to droughts, while countries in the South-West Pacific would become more prone to flooding and landslides and tropical cyclones would be more likely to form further west during this time.

This would be due to the South Pacific Convergence Zone, a band of intense rainfall which extends across the Pacific from the equator, being pushed South-West during La Niña.

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