El Niño Phenomenon Might Affect Colombia in November


The drought-causing El Niño weather phenomenon will return to Colombia in November, the country's environment minister said recently, warning that agriculture, energy production and water provision could be affected by the predicted lack of rain.

El Niño, a warming of ocean surface temperatures associated with crop damage, fires and flash floods, has damaged coffee and banana crops in Colombia in recent years and contributed to a spike in food prices that stoked inflation figures.

The Andean country, which generates 75 percent of its electricity via hydroelectric dams, was nearly forced to ration energy during the most recent El Niño, which lasted from the second half of 2015 through April 2016.

The phenomenon is expected to extend into the first quarter of 2019, Environment Minister Ricardo Lozano told journalists, and grow worse then.

"There will be a precipitation reduction, there will be drought," Lozano said. "That will directly affect those that supply water: aqueducts, the energy sector, in the health sector, irrigation areas."

According to reports of NOAA the probabilities of el Niño Phenomenon developing in the Northern hemisphere in the period September -November are 60% and in the Winter of 2018-2019 70%.

Colombia's electricity generation is guaranteed despite the phenomenon, Angela Montoya, the head of the country's electric energy generators association said.

Reservoirs that supply hydroelectric dams will be at 70 percent capacity in November, Montoya said, and will work in tandem with thermal coal power stations.

Colombia currently has the capacity to generate some 17,500 megawatts, though it consumes only 13,000 MW.

The Niño Phenomenon which causes draught and lower temperatures in the Caribbean while causes higher temperatures and excess of rain in the Pacific countries like Ecuador, Chile and Peru.

Should the Niño Phenomenon develop, the world banana industry - Philippines, Australia, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Panama etc.- might be affected either by higher temperatures and excessive rains of by lower temperatures and drought.


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