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Sigh of Relief! Improved Rainfall Come next Year

Published:Friday | December 18, 2015 | 5:40 PMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Robert Pickersgill, minister of water, land, environment and climate change, speaks to members of the media during a press conference on the outcomes of the COP 21 Climate Change Talks in Paris at the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change in New Kingston yesterday.

COME NEXT year, it is expected that Jamaicans will see increased rainfall levels as the El NiÒo is projected to weaken.

Earlier this year, Jamaicans experienced the effects of what has been described as the worst drought in five years. This was compounded by the strengthening of the El NiÒo phenomenon. In addition, projections from experts reveal that the country should not expect any significant relief anytime soon.

However, Jeffery Spooner, director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, indicated that the country has been receiving an appreciable amount of rainfall in recent times and future predictions signal improved conditions for the upcoming year.

The parishes of St Mary and Clarendon, however, were still in the red.

"We can now say the island is out of drought, but we have two parishes, where, at the end of November, were still experiencing drought conditions," he told The Gleaner following a press conference that was held at the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change to update journalists on the outcomes of the Conference of the Parties held recently in Paris.

"We should be having near normal rainfall up to February, and the prediction is for above normal rainfall in March, April and May. The prediction is for the El NiÒo to weaken. It's still kind of entrenched now and that is why into the early part of the year, we should be seeing just a near normal amount of rainfall."

El NiÒo is the warm phase of the El NiÒo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, including off the Pacific coast of South America.

El NiÒo is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. The cool phase of ENSO is called La NiÒa with sea surface temperature in the eastern Pacific below average and air pressures high in the eastern and low in western Pacific.