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Pacific ENSO Update

1st Quarter, 2012 Vol. 18 No. 1


FSM Flag Federated States of Micronesia

Pohnpei State: Weather conditions on Pohnpei Island and at most atolls of Pohnpei State were tranquil and unremarkable during 2011, although it was quite wet in some locations. One of the atolls of Pohnpei State, Kapingamarangi had an extended and damaging drought during the six-month period beginning in September 2010 through February 2011. The total rainfall during these 6 months was only 7.12 inches, or 7% of the normal 48.37 inches. During February of 2011 Kapingamarangi recorded only 0.20 inches of rain. Small rainfall values such as these can quickly become a life-threatening emergency as rain catchment systems run dry and agricultural plants are damaged. The dry conditions at Kapingamarangi and at other islands close to the equator (e.g., Tarawa and Nauru) occurred because of the La Niña-related westward extension of cold sea surface temperatures along the equator. Small personal distillation units from government and non-government sources and reliable water shipments by the FSM and Pohnpei State governments averted a likely disaster. In March of 2011, abundant rainfall returned to Kapingamarangi, and enough rain fell thereafter to bring the 2011 annual total above normal! Most locations on Pohnpei Island and at the other atolls of Pohnpei State had above-normal rainfall during 2011. As usual, Palikir topped the list of rainfall totals observed in Pohnpei State during 2011 with 216.26 inches (106%). This was also the highest total annual rainfall observed throughout Micronesia during 2011. A few miles away at the WSO, Pohnpei, the rainfall total during 2011 was 186.26 inches (99%).

Pohnpei Rainfall Summary 4th Quarter 2011

Station   Oct Nov Dec 4th Qtr Annual
Pohnpei Island
Pohnpei WSO
Rainfall (inches)
11.74
18.21
17.61
47.56
186.26
% of Normal
70%
116%
116%
100%
99%
Palikir
Rainfall (inches)
20.28
15.67
22.43
58.38
216.26
% of Normal
112%
92%
136%
113%
106%
Kolonia Airport
Rainfall (inches)
15.54
17.36
16.08
48.98
182.91
% of Normal
113%
134%
127%
125%
118%
Atolls of Pohnpei State
Nukuoro
Rainfall (inches)
8.58
8.08
19.66
36.32
166.74
% of Normal
80%
67%
164%
105%
112%
Pingelap
Rainfall (inches)
13.02
11.88
29.32
54.22
172.19
% of Normal
88%
83%
219%
128%
97%
Mwokilloa
Rainfall (inches)
11.71
13.51
23.68
48.90
199.38
% of Normal
85%
105%
189%
125%
129%
Kapingamarangi
Rainfall (inches)
4.63
7.54
12.19
24.36
118.20
% of Normal
96%
92%
139%
112%
107%


Climate Outlook: Easterly low-level winds should continue to dominate throughout Pohnpei State for the next several months, as the current weak-to-moderate La Niña slowly fades back to ENSO-neutral by June or July. In this scenario, the trade-wind trough/convergence (also called the ITCZ) becomes established across Pohnpei State in the spring. Thus, during the first half of 2012, rainfall is likely to be near normal to above normal for most islands and atolls of Pohnpei State. February is the driest month for most Pohnpei locations, and May is typically the wettest month for most locations on Pohnpei Island. This year should be no exception, with abundant rainfall, especially for the 3-month period of April through June. Thereafter, near-normal rainfall is anticipated on Pohnpei Island and the outer atolls. The risk on Pohnpei Island, or for any of the atolls of Pohnpei State, of hazardous effects from tropical cyclones is anticipated to be very low during 2012.

Forecast rainfall for Pohnpei State from January 2012 through December 2012 is as follows:

Inclusive Period

% of Long-Term Average Rainfall /
Forecast Rainfall (inches)
Pohnpei Islands and Atolls Kapingamarangi
January - March 2012
100%
(33.93 inches)
70%
(24.22 inches)
April - June 2012
110%
100%
July - September 2012
100% 100%
October - December 2012
100% 100%

Forecast rainfall quantities represent BEST ESTIMATES given the probabalistic forecast for each particular season and station.

source: UOG-WERI



Pacific ENSO Applications Climate (PEAC) Center
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2525 Correa Road, suite 250
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-2324

Web Master's email: peac@noaa.gov
Page Last Modified: March 22 2012 05:05:09 GMT

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