Take steps to counter El Niño or be ready for economic damage, warns expert

SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2023

Climate change, especially the El Niño phenomenon, is bound to have an adverse impact on the Thai economy, predicted a climate specialist.

In a Facebook post, Kasetsart University’s professor Witsanu Attavanich said the El Niño phenomenon in 1982-83 and 1997-1998 had brought people’s income down by 5-7.5% in Thailand.

Their annual income will drop further between 2020-2099 if appropriate steps are not taken to deal with climate change like setting up water management and storage systems during the wet season.

Witsanu Attavanich

The El Niño phenomenon is expected to raise global temperatures by 1.6 degrees Celsius in August and 2ᵒC in October this year. He added that the global temperature has risen by 2ᵒC five times over the past 73 years, in 1965-66, 1972-73, 1982-83, 1997-98, and 2015-16.

“This year or 2023-2024 may be the sixth time the global temperature will rise by 2ᵒC,” he warned, adding that the world should not underestimate the severity of the El Niño phenomenon.

According to him, the El Niño phenomenon may bring intense drought and reduced or possibly no rain during the rainy season.

El Niño is the warm phase of a cyclical climate pattern known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation when temperatures in the Pacific rise more than 0.5ᵒC.

Thailand was ranked 9th globally among countries that are at risk of being severely hit by climate change, caretaker Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said.