While the El Nino phenomenon is expected to usher in hotter and drier weather, it also extends the durian season which may result in a price drop of the king of fruits.
Next month, Southeast Asia is expected to experience the El Nino phenomenon, which will lead to hotter and drier weather conditions.
As a result, the haze in the region is expected to worsen.
Speaking to Bernama, senior lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Earth Sciences and Environment Department Dr Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir, explained that during an El Nino event, changes in the speed of the westward-moving winds along the equator cause the ocean surface temperatures to become warmer.
El Nino is associated with reduced rainfall in certain parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, which creates dry conditions favorable for fires to occur in forests and areas undergoing land-clearing activities. These fires release smoke and pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to hazy conditions.UKM senior lecturer Dr Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir
Additionally, he added that the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service predicts a return to El Nino conditions in the late summer of the northern hemisphere, with the possibility of a strong El Nino developing later this year.
Sarawak, in particular, has already identified 23 hotspots, expecting prolonged dry weather. Climate scientists believe that climate changes and the anticipated return of the El Nino weather phenomenon could result in a new average temperature record in 2023 or 2024.UKM senior lecturer Dr Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir
El Nino events have affected Malaysia 12 times since 1951-1952, with the worst case occurring in 1997-1998 when the highest temperature of 40.1 degrees Celsius was recorded.
Furthermore, Mohd Shahrul explained that during El Nino, changes in atmospheric circulation can lead to altered wind patterns, causing smoke and pollutants to be transported over long distances.
The combination of dry conditions, wildfires, and pollutants from various sources contributes to elevated levels of particulate matter, including fine airborne particles, which can pose health risks such as respiratory issues.UKM senior lecturer Dr Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir
Meanwhile, the upcoming hotter and drier weather is also a plus one for durian enthusiasts in the country.
According to Sinar Harian, durian lovers will get the chance to enjoy the ‘king of fruits’ for a longer period as its season is expected to be longer compared to previous years.
This is due to the hot weather conditions, which have caused durian trees to flower easily and produce a higher yield per tree.
Mohd Lokman Mohd Isa, a durian entrepreneur in Kampung Baru, stated that the durian season, which started early this year, is expected to continue until mid-October.
Durian farmers in the area anticipate that the duration of the fruit’s blooming season will extend by an additional three months compared to the usual period.
As a result, there is a possibility of a decrease in prices for the highly sought-after fruit.
Simultaneously, the Raub Industrial Plant Entrepreneurs Association suggests that by implementing proper planting techniques and utilizing advanced technological tools, the production of durians could potentially increase by up to 50%.