Country experience abnormal tides as La Nina phenomenon now in effect

Some places in the country are currently experiencing abnormal high tides or unusual tides which are higher than normal because the current climate in the Western Tropical Pacific is influenced by La Nina phenomenon. 

A village in Langalanga Lagoon flooded by unusual high tides. Photo: John Junior/Facebook

La Nina is opposite to El Nino. It is when the south easterly trade winds will be stronger, especially in open waters and pushes warm waters to the Western Pacific countries like Solomon Islands, PNG and Indonesia, and influences sea level to rise. 

“We have already experienced sea level rise due to climate change, and so what happen is we will be experiencing abnormal high tides because of the influence of both La Nina and sea level rise due to climate change,” says the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS) director, David Hiriasia. 

He said people living along coasts and in the lagoons, even in big islands will be experiencing unusual higher sea levels.  

In recent days, SIBC News has seen several photos that were posted in the social media of houses in the Langalanga Lagoon near Auki in Malaita Province that were inundated with unusual tides. 

Mr Hiriasia said other places in the country are also experiencing coastal flooding.

“The effect of La Nina, coupled with high tides and  sea level rise due to climate change, we will be experiencing unusually high tides during this wet season,” he explains.   

Mr Hiriasia said the country is in for a lot of rain as well.  

“Signs have already indicated that we are in a La Nina phase. During La Nina, high rainfall is expected. High rainfall means flooding can occur in flood prone areas,” he said.

The meteorology expert says La Nina will also be affecting the formation of cyclones. 

“The strong trade winds push the warm waters from the eastern Pacific to the Western Pacific and create an enabling environment for cyclone formation.”

La Nina weakens high atmospheric winds, which allows warm air pockets to grow vertically and develop into tropical cyclones. 

SIMS cyclone outlook has forecasted that the country expects 2 or 3 tropical cyclones during the cyclone season.  

“This is because of the influence of La Nina in open waters, it pushes warm water to Solomon Islands which then results in more rainfall and as well formation of cyclones.

Mr Hiriasia said this is just a prediction for this cyclone season, however, people should take precautionary measures. 

SIMS will be issuing advice once they detect any cyclone formation. But currently, there is no cyclone being detected in the country. 

Hiriasia urged all people to take precautionary measures during this wet season.

by Jared Koli

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