Iran's Climate in Flux: El Niño to La Niña Transition Brings Uncertainty

As the El Niño cycle begins to subside, Iran's Meteorological Organization is warning of a potential shift towards La Niña conditions, which could bring a dry year and a delayed fall season. With Iran having experienced four years of consecutive low precipitation, the shift towards La Niña could intensify existing drought conditions and increase the risk of flash floods.

Iran (IMNA) - Seated at the National Center for Forecasting Iran Metrological Organization, Sadeq Ziaeian expressed concern about the current shift in the cycle from El Niño to La Niña, stating that by August 20, ISNA reported, "there is over 60 percent chance for neutral conditions and 38 percent chance for experiencing La Niña in the country."
The three components of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are El Niño, La Niña, and neutral phases.

The Equatorial Pacific Ocean is home to cyclical climatic events known as El Niño and La Niña, the opposing extremes of the ENSO.
In contrast to El Niño, which is typified by abnormally high ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, La Niña is defined by exceptionally cold water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

Such changes result from the atmosphere's and the ocean's natural interactions. The circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, rainfall, air pressure, and sea surface temperature all affect one another.

Ziaeian noted that Iran's atmospheric state is influenced by cyclonic occurrences other than the ENSO, including the Indian Ocean bipolar, Madden-Jullian Oscillation (MJO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and Acetic Oscillation (AO).
In ideal circumstances, when La Niña predominates, the chances of a dry year rise, and there is a 60% chance that Iran's fall season begins later.
Rainfall is almost usual.
"After four years of consecutive low precipitations, the amount of average rainfall is getting close to normal long-term figures," stated the director of the Metrological Organization in June.

According to Sahar Tajbakhsh, "the country is currently experiencing less than one millimeter, about 0.3 percent, short of long-term rainfall," as reported by IRIB.

El Niño-induced flooding

According to a recent World Weather Attribution research, El Niño was the main cause of the high rainfall in April and May that resulted in extensive flash floods over Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It also doubled the likelihood of heavy rain.

Several storms struck West Asia in April and May. At least 500 people lost their lives in Afghanistan, 124 in Pakistan, and 18 in Iran as a result of flash floods, which also wrecked hundreds of homes and wiped away crops, exacerbating the food crisis and endangering agricultural livelihoods.

According to ISNA, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published a study on April 23 detailing the country's experiences with extreme weather, including dust storms, floods, droughts, and high winds.

According to the analysis, Iran is experiencing a widespread drought in 2023 as a result of below-average rainfall in many parts of the country for the third year in a row.

Throughout the year, there was a substantial rainfall deficit in the eastern part. The region’s primary inland lakebed, Hamoun Lake, has dried up due to a combination of above-average temperatures, less precipitation, and a severe drought.
According to the analysis, Iran's autumn of 2023 was significantly warmer than usual and had a severe lack of rainfall across the country.

The majority of Asia was affected by severe dust storms. A dust storm that hit Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in mid-September resulted in major health issues.

From September 18 to September 25, strong winds in the southeast of the country produced intense dust storms that left many seriously ill and hospitalized.

The region was impacted by the Levar wind and the dust from the parched Hamoun marsh, which led to negative health consequences, school closures, traffic problems, and crop loss.

The study states that 300 houses in Astara city were severely impacted by the flood that occurred between September 17 and September 19. On September 18, Astara saw heavy and protracted rains, which caused the flood. A total of 220 millimeters of rain fell in 12 hours, resulting in significant damage.

News ID 769979


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