United Nations: Southern India could continue to experience higher than normal rainfall and this could cause further flooding due to El Nino, a phenomena which sparks global weather extremes, according to a UN report.
The ongoing El Nino weather pattern in the Asia and Pacific is likely to be one of the strongest since 1998 and will continue into early 2016, according to the advisory, which asks regional cooperation for early warning, in-season mitigation and long-term adaptation strategies to curb climate risk.
"The impact of the 2015-2016 El Nino could be even more severe in certain locations, such as the uplands of Cambodia, central and southern India, eastern Indonesia, the central and southern Philippines, central and northeast Thailand," said the Third Advisory Note on El Nino issued jointly by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES).
While many southeast Asian countries, particularly India and Sri Lanka, expect to face severe flooding caused by heavy rainfalls, some Pacific islands ' Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu, among others ' have been experiencing a serious drought, causing water shortage and food insecurity, according to the report.
The 2015-2016 El Nino is likely to be one of the strongest El Nino events since 1997-1998. Sri Lanka and southern India could continue to experience higher than normal rainfall and this could cause further flooding, particularly urban flooding, in certain locations, the report said.
In India, Chennai was hit exceptionally hard, with numerous deaths recorded due to severe flooding. Up to 21.7 inches of rain was recorded, which drenched Tamil Nadu and over 7.9 inches fell in large areas of southeastern India and northern Sri Lanka.
Record-setting rainfall since November 2015 has generated severe floods resulting in the death of a large number of people, the report said.
"While there is no detailed scientific investigation into whether there is a direct link between the 2015-2016 El Nino and Chennai city flooding yet, the consensus that strong El Nino conditions has led to abnormal rainfall during the northeast monsoon season in South Asia indicates that El Nino had a part to play in the sequence of extreme weather events in India," the advisory said.