'Strongest El Nino in 100 years'

 A wooden boat is seen stranded on a dry cracked riverbed in Indonesia's East Java province on Oct 5.
A wooden boat is seen stranded on a dry cracked riverbed in Indonesia's East Java province on Oct 5. PHOTO: REUTERS

This year's El Nino is perhaps the most powerful ever measured, experts say, and is contributing to extreme weather wreaking havoc across the planet.

"It is one of the top three El Ninos of the last 100 years," said Bangkok-based Sanny Jegillos, senior adviser, Crisis Prevention and Recovery at the United Nations Development Programme. And he predicted more dire consequences "in the coming days".

Mr Jerome Lecou, a climate expert at French weather service Meteo France, went further: "It is probably the most powerful in the last 100 years."

During El Ninos, which emerge every four to seven years on average, warmer water in the Pacific shifts eastward, triggering heavy rain on islands in the Pacific and on the west coast of South America, warmer than normal winters in the northern US and Canada, but drought in parts of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2015, with the headline ''Strongest El Nino in 100 years''. Print Edition | Subscribe