By Ebele Orakpo
LAGOSâ€”THE current hot weather being experienced in Lagos and other parts of the country has been linked to the El-niÃ±o phenomenon, described by experts as an unusual high pressure situation affecting all parts of the world though in different ways.
The condition, according to experts, is expected to continue this month in the southern part of the country while normal temperature values are expected in the northern states.
Assistant General Manager, Central Forecast Office of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, Mr. Cyprian Okoloye told Vanguard in an interview in Lagos that the country was currently experiencing the warm phase of el-nino adding that the condition was expected to remain throughout a greater part of the year
Okoloye who said the year 2010 rainfall prediction by the agency was predicated on the el-nino, noted that the implication of this would be a shortfall in rainfall this year especially in the northern part of the country based on the el-nino forecast globally.
He noted: â€œThere are places we will have earlier onset of rainfall and there are places where we will have early cessation of rainfall and that has strong socio-economic implications like in agriculture and other sectors of the economy.â€
Okoloye, however, maintained that the current weather condition was not unusual, saying: â€œIt is only that human memory is short.
We easily forget. Our records have shown that temperatures, especially in the south are in the 30s (30oC-35oC) which is normal within the period. Actually the heat has been there for sometime now but that is not to say that we are already at the end of the dry season in the south i.e states lying below latitude 8 degrees north. There is absolutely nothing unusual about the weather we have now.â€
Speaking further, the meteorologist said we are in the transition period in the south. â€œWe are already entering the rainy season in the south only and within this period, there is always a tremendous amount of energy being transported from the northern to the southern hemisphere and vice-versa and this actually contributes to heat.
In a report by NIMET titled 2010 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction and Socio-Economic Implications for Nigeria, the agency noted that due to the El-nino phenomenon, there would be less than normal rainfall (predicted to vary from 60 to 280 days) interspersed with dry spells especially in the northern part of the country.
The report listed some of the effects to include low agricultural yields and inadequate fodder leading to food shortage over the Sahel region unlike in the Savannah region where rainfall is expected to be substantial enough to give high agricultural yields; water shortage and reduction in stream-flows which will affect electricity generation from the hydro power plants and irrigation especially in the northern part of the country.
For the southern part of the country, according to the report, there would be episodes of flooding and erosion in the coastal and river catchment areas and low fish production.
50 sub-regional leaders for Paris meeting on climate change
Meantime, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, a co-founder of R20, a coalition of 50 sub-regional leaders and governors, will meet in Paris tomorrow, to deliberate on issues of climate change.
A statement by Sunny Ogefere, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, said in Asaba, yesterday, that R20 was a coalition of world leaders committed to addressing issues of climate change, stressing that the meeting will chart the way forward after the Copenhagen Summit.
The statement said R20 was launched in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark by the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uduaghan, President Huchon Ile-de-France, and Premier Charest, Quebec, with the support of Minister Rahmani from Algeria, Africa focal point for COP 15.
Ogefere noted that the objective of the coalition was assisting sub-national governments or state governments in mobilizing finance and increasing capacity to deliver climate mitigation technologies and climate friendly investments.
The statement said: â€œIt hopes to support the establishment of Green Investment Bank to provide strategic advice to federated and developing states on options to raise capital towards building a low carbon economy.