Anticipate dry season earlier

There is an 80% chance that the El Niño weather phenomenon will develop in Panama between December 2018 and February 2019, according to weather forecasts.

With the presence of El Niño the arrival of the dry season in early December would be anticipated.

Normally, the transition from the rainy to the dry season is recorded in mid-December but and this year could happen sooner, said Alcely Lau , manager of Research and climatic applications of the Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica, SA (Etesa).

In the last five months the trend has been a warming of the waters of the Pacific Ocean, which reinforces the possibility of the presence of an El Niño event between December and February, predicts Lau.

In the presence of El Niño there is a decrease in rainfall on the Pacific slope, with greater intensity in the dry arc, which includes southern Veraguas, Coclé, Herrera and Los Santos.

The agricultural sector must prepare as every year before the shortage of rainfall, warns the specialist.

The last El Niño phenomenon registered in Panama was at the end of 2015 and the first semester of 2016 which was listed as the third strongest in history,  reporting  deaths of more than 600 cattle in Azuero and left losses to the agricultural sector of $102 million.

Faced with this scenario, the experts participating in the National Forum on Climatic Applications recommend that timely monitoring be carried out in the Panamanian agricultural sector, controls and records in the sowing season. They must also resort to agricultural production under a controlled environment, said Miroslava Morán , coordinator of Plans and Projects of the National Water Council (Conagua).

For the livestock sector, especially for the dry arch region, they recommend preventive vaccination of animals, conservation and retention of water; preparation and conservation of food in silos, and the development of a nutritional plan with vitamins for a prolonged drought.

Among the goals of the National Water Security Plan 2015-2050 , there is preventive risk management and with these forecasts, it is  intended  that the country be more resilient to climate changes, said Morán.

The climate impacts many sectors.  The National Forum on Climatic Applications is sought to gather in Panama the players and decision makers to draw the roadmap on issues related to food and nutrition security; health and drinking water; environment and disaster risks; and energy.