El Niño and La Niña are a natural part of the global climate system. These occur when the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere above it change from their normal state for several seasons. These changes in the Pacific Ocean and its overlying atmosphere occur in a cycle known as the El Nino – Southern Oscillation or ENSO. The Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere act upon one another by strengthening each other and its does make a feedback cycle. This develops small changes in the state of the ocean into an ENSO event.
The ENSO cycle is a scientific term that describes the frequent change in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere. When ENSO occur the ocean temperature changes to warmer or El Niño and cooler or La Niña. The unusual changes in the normal surface temperatures can have large impacts not only with the ocean processes but also on global weather and climate.
The occurrence of El Niño and La Niña causes tremendous havoc to economies. The most affected here is the agricultural and environmental sector. With this non consistent climate, which is now shifting from El Niño to La Niña, everyone should have their own initiative and coping mechanism to mitigate the effects of the phenomenon.
The sector of Agriculture is the most affected of these phenomenon. So in order to cope up to these climates they are introducing measures to lessen the impact. One of these projects of Department of Agriculture is the Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIPs). A small-scale reservoirs in all parts of the country for multi-purposed utilization of water resources such as flood control, irrigation, household water supplies, power generation and the prevention of soil erosion, to make diverse and thereby improve the infrastructure for life and production in rural areas.
Many farmers installed water pumps and constructed shallow tube wells for water supply. Another intervention includes distribution of vegetable seed and garden kits for crop production, veterinary drugs, minerals and vitamin supplements for the livestock to survive in the heat. Other government agencies had their own interventions like soil conservation and efficient water management; fingerlings stock, production of alternative feeds for the livestock; planting of short maturing drought tolerant crop and varieties; reforestation and most importantly conducting of information dissemination and education management measures to be adopted.
La Niña is the total opposite of El Niño. In here flood, rains and the cool weather arises. One of the coping mechanisms that the Department of Agriculture and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) plan is to conduct a massive information education campaign that composes of four areas: Disaster prevention and mitigation, Disaster preparedness, Disaster response and Disaster rehabilitation and recovery. These will help people to come up with the changing temperatures of La Niña.
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The rice fields that are vulnerable to La Niña have to be planted to submerged tolerant rice varieties. The farmers have to adjust in the planting calendar. Building drainage and irrigation canals helps to lessen excess water. Repair dikes and drain excess water from rice fields to avoid drought. Also the using of mechanical dryers, windbreak structures and practice rain water harvesting enable to benefit the crops that have been affected by this phenomenon. DRRM added that disaster preparedness strengthen the capacities of the communities to be ready against these calamities. With these interventions it would be a less reduction to the volume of the production.
Commonwealth of Australia 2017, Bureau of Meteorology
Coping Strategies Against El Nino: The Case of Selected Communities in Talugtug, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
Coping with La Nina
Department of Agriculture
Farmers Coping Mechanisms on El Nino and La Nina
Journal of Agricultural Technology
National Ocean Service
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council