11 September 1998
La Niña waits in the wings after El Niño

THE worlds commodity markets are braced for the La Niña weather system after the havoc caused by El Niño.

El Niño occurs approximately every seven years and La Niña is part of the same cycle. But La Niña is the opposite of El Niño. Where El Niño was a warming of sea-surface temperatures, La Niña is the cooling-down.

It is expected to bring wetter weather than usual to many regions, especially equatorial Pacific. But the Financial Times reports that some investment analysts are cautious about predicting its effects.

Some weather experts have attributed the flooding in China to La Niña. Scientists believe La Niña may be linked to greater hurricane activity.

Analysts say its exact impact will depend on its timing. Australasia and east Africa could experience heavier rainfall as well as south-east Asia and especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This could mean crop damage or better yields depending on how long the rain stays.

  • Financial Times 11/09/98 page 30