Weather forecasters are saying that the El Nino cycle of 2015 and 2016 has reached its peak, and now they are warning of La Nina. The effects of La Nina could be felt as early as the latter half of 2016. Meanwhile, the effects of El Nino should be declining in the coming months.
La Nina occurs when the equatorial Pacific Ocean cools down. It is generally considered to be the opposite of El Nino. Both are major phases of a naturally occurring cycle that affects the global climate.
Since the year 1900, about 26 different El Nino events have occurred. They are typically followed by a neutral period or a La Nina event. Weather forecasters have stated that there is an equal chance of a neutral period or a La Nina in the second half of this year. A repeat of El Nino is said to be extremely unlikely, with only about a 10% chance of occurring.
The current El Nino cycle has been said to be one of the three strongest since the year 1950. The El Nino cycle has warmed the equatorial Pacific Ocean, causing drought in parts of Asia and bringing more rain to the southern United States. Under El Nino, both palm oil and sugar have been flourishing.
During La Nina, parts of the United States tend to be drier, while portions of Australia and Indonesia typically receive more rain. Agricultural economists predict that a strong La Nina could produce substantial upside potential in terms of grains price volatility.
The last time that a La Nina event initiated was in 2010, and it lasted until 2012. Usually, La Nina events only last somewhere between 9 months and 12 months, but they can persist as long as two years. The Northern Hemisphere winter is typically when El Nino and La Nina events tend to reach their peak.