8 Jul 2014

El Niño may bring droughts and floods

6:37 am on 8 July 2014

Climate scientists are warning some Pacific countries to prepare for possible droughts this spring.

A seawall protecting a home from coastal erosion in Kiribati, climate change.

A seawall protecting a home from coastal erosion in Kiribati Photo: UNDP / Sheryl Ho

The latest Island Climate Update says atmospheric conditions are indicating the development of El Niño, which will bring higher than normal rainfall to some areas, and lower than normal rainfall to others.

A Climate Scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Andrew Lorrey, says while it doesn't look like it will be a severe pattern, some areas should prepare for water shortages.

"This might be a moderate event that's coming up, but again it shouldn't be taken lightly as you can have varying effects of that type of event that can be quite sever for some places. For small island nations which have tank water largely as some of their supplies, especially in outlying island areas. That can be something that we really have to keep our eye on."

Andrew Lorrey says some areas, particularly east of the date line, should prepare for the opposite, as higher than usual rainfall is expected.