‘El Nino’ has forecasters on alert for rain in Oman
September 21, 2015 | 8:25 PM

Muscat: Oman’s weather forecasters are teaming up with police and rescue services to prepare for heavy rain expected over the next four months, feared to be worse than normal due to the ‘El Niño’ phenomenon.

Dr. Saeed Al Sarmi, the Head of the Research Centre from Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) told the Times of Oman, “It is expected that due to El Niño effect, there will higher–than-normal rainfall in Oman, especially in the northern mountainous regions and interiors.

“We will be issuing timely updates to the public and coordination will be enhanced among government bodies, especially with police, to deal with the situation.”

The El Niño phenomenon occurs when the east and central Pacific seas’ surface temperatures become warmer than usual, which often signals wide-scale climate change around the globe affecting winds, precipitation, sea-level pressures and temperatures.

In Muscat, the annual rainfall is about 100 millimetres, falling mostly from December to April. In general, precipitation is scarce in Muscat with several months, on an average, getting only a trace of rainfall.

However, a mature and strong El Niño is now present in the tropical Pacific Ocean and the majority of international climate outlook models suggest that the 2015 to 2016 El Niño is likely to strengthen further before the end of the year.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations’ weather-monitoring body, the strength of El Niño is expected to peak sometime during October 2015 to January 2016, and could potentially place it among the four strongest El Niño events since 1950.

“The current and emerging oceanic-atmospheric conditions in the western Indian Ocean indicate a high likelihood of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), an irregular oscillation of sea-surface temperatures in which the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean, during the remainder of 2015,” said the World Meteorological Organisation in its latest update.

In the past, the region was hit by a drought, whenever El Nino’s impact was heightened. However, new evidence suggests that El Nino’s impact could result in increased rainfall in the wake of changing climate conditions during the last 15 years.

A senior meteorologist from told Times of Oman that a combination of strong El Niño and a positive IOD could certainly lead to above normal rain across Oman in October or November.

“El Nino has some correlation with the above-average rainfall expected in Oman in October and November. The combination of the strong El Nino and positive IOD could certainly lead to above normal rainfall across Oman later in October or November,” Jason Nicholls, the senior meteorologist from said.

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