El Nino weather happening more frequently, says expert

More frequent El Nino weather conditions will cause coral reefs to die off, says Fadzil Akhir. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: An oceanographer says the El Nino phenomenon of extreme weather is happening more frequently because of climate change.

The expert, Mohd Fadzil Akhir, said Malaysians had in the past experienced hot weather conditions from the El Nino phenomenon every 10 years.

“From 10 years, it went down to every 5-7 years. Now we will be experiencing the extreme hot weather every 2-3 years.

“In the long term, we may have less fish in the sea because of coral bleaching,” he told FMT, as warmer ocean temperatures caused corals reefs to die off.

Fadzil Akhir.

Fadzil was asked to comment on a CNN report last week that an international team of 14 scientists had found evidence that the oceans are warming at an alarming speed.

The study said the world’s oceans are now heating at the same rate as five Hiroshima-size atomic bombs being dropped into the water every second.

Fadzil said sea temperatures in Malaysia had risen by 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius in the past 20 years.

“This may be a minimal increase but during El Nino, the temperature goes up further by another 1.5 degree Celsius,” he said.

German researchers have also predicted another El Nino later this year as the Pacific Ocean heats up, causing distruption to farmers and fishermen due to changing ocean conditions.

During El Nino, daytime temperatures will rise to 39-40 degree Celsius.

“It may affect fishermen’s catch as the ocean is even hotter during El Nino,” Fadzil said. There would be a long-term impact on the marine ecology.