2015/16 El Niño

The strong El Niño of 2015/16 is forecast to continue three to six months into 2016. An El Niño is a set of anomalous oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the equatorial Pacific that influences weather patterns around the world. So far, this El Niño has led to drier than average conditions in Central America and the Caribbean, Sudan, and Ethiopia. It has resulted in more rainfall than usual during the October to December season in the Horn of Africa. It has also disrupted the Indian monsoon and led to drier than usual conditions in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. During late 2015 and early 2016 it is likely to contribute to drought in Southern Africa. In the last El Niño of comparable magnitude – 1997-1998 – a rapid transition to La Niña conditions occurred. Some observers speculate that this may happen again. This would be unfavorable for the Horn of Africa because La Niña is quite consistently associated with drought in the eastern Horn.

From October 2015 to September 2016, FEWS NET projects that emergency food assistance in the countries FEWS NET covers will be roughly 30 percent higher than our estimate for last year. In about half of the countries we cover, El Niño’s impacts on climates are a primary driver of acute food insecurity. This El Niño and the needs it is creating are above and beyond a variety of other serious food security emergencies that were already occurring – including Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.

Food Security Impacts from the 2015/16 El Niño

A strong El Niño is ongoing and is forecast to continue three to six months into 2016. This El Niño has resulted in severe drought in Central America, the Caribbean, and Ethiopia, and between the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, it will be the primary cause of flooding in the Horn of Africa and drought in Southern Africa.
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El Niño Impacts To-Date in FEWS monitored countries

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The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics