Scientists have voiced concern about El Nino 2023 that may cause extreme weather conditions, including hot weather, lack of rainfall and drought.
In El Nino conditions, the number of typhoons and tropical depressions is 28 percent lower than the annual average level. There are about 10-12 tropical cyclones each year, including typhoons and tropical depressions in the East Sea, with 5-7 attacks (0.58 a month) having a direct impact on Vietnam’s mainland.
During El Nino years, there are about 0.42 attacks a month. In El Nino conditions, tropical cyclones mostly occur in the middle of the storm season (July, August and September).
The number of spells of cold weather affecting Vietnam is lower than usual. In El Nino conditions, the average monthly temperature is higher than usual, with the difference in winter clearer than in summer, and the effects in the south bigger than the north. Due to El Nino, especially strong El Nino events, many record high temperature have been reported.
El Nino usually causes a lack of rainfall in most areas throughout the country, especially in the northern part of the central region. It is highly possible that drought will occur in areas with high demand for production and daily life.
Though rainfall may decrease, records about high rainfall within 24 hours may be set. The historic rain in late July 2015 in Quang Ninh, and the flood in late September 2009 after Ketsana typhoon in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai are examples. This shows the increased volatility of rainfall in Vietnam
What about El Nino 2023 in Vietnam?
The manifestations of the ocean and atmosphere show that El Nino exists. The information was confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in June 2023 when the measured sea water temperature was 0.5oC higher than the climate average. El Nino is predicted to gradually increase in intensity in the winter months in 2023-2024.
Regarding the possible impact on Vietnam, scientists say the occurrence of storms and tropical depressions may not be regular, and will be mostly in the middle of the season, but the development will be complicated and abnormal.
Northeast monsoons are likely to be less frequent than usual, while winter may come late and end early. The monthly average temperature will be higher than the average level compared to recent years, while hot weather is likely to be more severe than 2022. Meanwhile, rainfall may be lower by 25-50 percent, especially in the north. However, extreme heavy rains may occur.
Therefore, little rain, leading to drought, saline intrusion, and water shortage in the first months of 2024 across the country may occur. The record drought and saline intrusion spells in 2015-2016 and 2019-2020 in many countries because of El Nino has reminded people and agencies to take drastic measures to ease the possible impact of El Nino.
The saline intrusion in the dry season in 2019-2020 in Mekong Delta caused by El Nino, considered the most serious in history. But the impact on agricultural production and people’s daily life was minimized compared with El Nino in 2015-2016.
This was attributed to state agencies' early forecasting of saline intrusion, which played a very important role in agricultural production structure to suit the water source situation. Ministries, branches and farmers applied necessary solutions to change production seasons to avoid salt.
Farmers are aware of the risks and they often take measures themselves to handle saline intrusion to prevent damage.
State management agencies and farmers believe that the key to success lies in forecasting. Accurate forecasting uses resources in the most effective way, re-distributing existing water sources. In the long term, Vietnam needs to build a national strategy on using water and create policies on preventing disasters related to El Nino.
To Van Truong