The U.S. government weather forecaster has predicted that La Niña has ended and ENSO-neutral conditions will continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring and early summer 2023. However, there is a possibility of El Niño forming during summer 2023 and persisting through the fall. The emergence of El Niño could have significant impacts on crop production and global food prices.
El Niño and its impact on different regions and crops:
El Niño is a weather pattern characterized by warming ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific. This pattern can cause crop damage, flash floods, and fires. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has highlighted that there is over a 50% chance of El Niño emerging by the July-August-September period. This could lead to a weak monsoon, which has been observed in previous El Niño years, and could result in lower production of rice not only in India but also across Southeast Asia.
In Australia, the wheat crop is likely to face risks from dry weather due to the El Niño weather pattern in the second half of the year. India’s weather office has also warned that another heatwave in March is likely, especially in the key wheat-producing central and northern states. The impact of El Niño on crops is not limited to Asia. The emergence of El Niño could also strain global inventories of palm oil, as the condition usually results in below-average rainfall in main producers Indonesia and Malaysia.
However, there could be positive impacts of El Niño on crop production in other regions. For example, if the drought on the southern Plains abates, the U.S. could see a rebound in wheat production. Additionally, Argentina could return to its role as a key contributor to the world supply of wheat, corn, and soybeans.
The end of La Niña and the emergence of El Niño could have significant impacts on crop production and global food prices. While some regions are likely to face risks from dry weather and lower production of crops, other regions could see a rebound in production. It is important to keep an eye on how El Niño evolves in the coming months and its impact on different regions and crops.