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October 2002

El Niņo situation and prospects

Agrometeorology Group,
Environment and Natural Resources Service
FAO Research, Extension and Training Division

8 October 2002

Based on both Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature and the associated atmospheric circulation pattern, in particular a reversal of the trade winds, the major monitoring systems (IRI, the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction, and BOM, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology) confirm earlier forecasts of an El Niņo event taking place towards the end of this year.

The predictions agree that the event will be weaker than in 1997 and that the associated climate impacts should therefore be comparatively weaker as well.

There appears to be less agreement as to the development of the situation from the middle of 2003 onwards.

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