La Nina is headed this way
Climate phenomenon will extend the rainy season, leading to increased flooding and possible landslides, meteorologist says
La Nina will hit Thailand this year causing landslides and flooding nationwide, a climate change expert said last week.
The projection is based on two scientific signs: the Multivariate Enso Index (MEI) and sea temperature projections in the Pacific Ocean.
"The signs are so obvious that La Nina is forming and should start hitting Thailand and Asia in the next two months, the beginning of the rainy season," said Dr Anond Snidwongs, a scientist who works for the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research.
"There will be no major storm-induced rains, but the seasonal rains will continue a lot longer, which will be the main cause of landslides and flooding," he said.
Anond warned authorities to be prepared for such natural disasters.
"We cannot point exactly to where the affected areas will be due to the limitations of knowledge of La Nina. In the past we have paid more attention to El Nino than La Nina, due to our greater concerns about drought rather than flooding," he said.
Based on projections, La Nina will last from this May until at least May next year.
In Bangkok, heavy rains might lead to flooding due to the inefficiencies of the city's drainage system, he said. However, he said, the authorities should be able to cope.
Dr Michael Glantz, director of the Centre for Capacity Building of the American National Centre for Atmospheric Research, warned that global warming and climate change in all parts of the world would continue.
"About 96 per cent of the glaciers at the North and South Poles are melting at an increasing rate and the sea water level is rising. Climate fluctuation, including the patterns of drought and rainfall, is increasing," he said.
"Climate change is not the only scientific finding, the aspects include social impact, political policies, economic and social equity. Now more than half the world's population is suffering the impact of climate change," he said during an interview with The Nation while attending the workshop "Climate Change, Seasonality and Environmental Hazards" last week in Bangkok.
Anond and Glantz agreed that more study and monitoring of the impact of climate change were urgently needed. Greater efforts should be made to help people prepare for future natural disasters, Glantz said.
He also said that the study of climate change at the national level was small and insufficient for preparing most countries for global disasters.
Last Wednesday, the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP) in Thailand held public seminars to discuss the national strategic master plan for climate change, aiming to prepare Thailand for negotiating the Kyoto Protocol.
The drafting process is expected to last three months, said OEPP's director-general Nisakorn Khositrat.
The strategic master plan will then be submitted for cabinet approval through the National Environment Board, she said.
Nisakorn added that Thailand would host an international meeting on climate change in 2007.