MANILA — State weather bureau PAGASA on Saturday warned that the El Niño phenomenon may impact Mindanao the most, due to the relatively higher amount of water being lost during the period.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon characterized by below-normal rainfall that can lead to dry spells and drought.
Ana Liza Solis, chief of PAGASA's climate monitoring and prediction section, said based on historical data, Mindanao loses "more than 35 percent" of water in their area.
"Base po sa mga pag-aaral, mga around 12 percent ang nawawala sa Luzon area, so depende po iyon sa timing; Around 21 percent sa may Visayas area at mas malaki po... iyong nawawalang tubig-ulan o kabawasan sa may Mindanao area," said Solis in a media briefing in Quezon City.
"Mas apektado sila [Mindanao] dahil sila po iyong mga tinatawag na evenly distributed throughout the year lang iyong tubig ng ulan at saka may short dry season lang siya kaya usually sila po iyong masamang naaapektuhan po kapag El Niño," she added.
This means, the expert said, that their usual and already low-levels of rainfall may further be reduced.
In the Visayas area, she warned that the areas of Cebu and Bohol are usually the hardest hit by the dry spell and drought during the El Niño phenomenon.
At present, Solis said chances of the phenomenon developing in the country is still high at "more than 70 percent" and could happen in two months.
Her colleague, Marcelino Villafuerte, head of PAGASA’s impact assessment in its climatology and agrometeorology division, last week said they may issue an El Niño alert by next month.
At present, the Philippines is under “El Niño watch” status.
When asked about the science behind projecting the possibility of El Niño occurring soon, this was her explanation:
"Iyon po 'yung nakikita natin dahil patuloy na umiinit iyong temperatura ng Dagat Pasipiko, so iyon 'yung pinagbabasehan natin whether kung magkakaroon ng El Niño o wala."
Climate projections by PAGASA show that El Niño will begin by the third quarter of 2023 or between July and September, and will last until next year.