The climate phase of La Nina is the cause for the apparent unpredictable weather patterns of late in Samoa.
Intermittent bouts of sun, followed by a strong downpour of rain with the occasional thunder can be explained by this phenomenon, according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) Climate Prediction Services.
In layman’s terms, Climate Prediction Services Co-ordinator, Sunny Seuseu, says this phase can be described as the alchemic chemistry that happens when girl meets boy.
“You have the warmer winds coming in from the east along the equator and then we have the south east trade winds coming in from the Polar Regions to the south and you know when warm and cold combine; a lot of magical things happen,” he said.
“So you’re going to see a lot of activities like rain, clouds, thunder which is typical for this time of year.
“Even though we are currently in the wet season cycle of the year, El Nino has shifted to La Nina phase causing weather patterns to be a bit more extreme in nature.
“We’re actually in La Nina; it means broadly there are stronger trade winds so the bodies of warm waters are actually pushed to the west side of the Pacific which includes Australia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
But because all the trade winds are pushing all the clouds and the top surface of the oceans, it’s pushing all this water to the Pacific basin which is why all the rain is located in this cloud,” Mr. Seuseu says as he points to a cloud over Samoa on a satellite image of the Pacific Convergence Zone.
“But we need not worry as this is typical of this phase of the climate system,” Mr. Seuseu said.
And he assures everyone that by April when the wet season is over, things will appear to settle down. He adds that what we are experiencing with these extreme patterns is a lot like having our own Samoan Olympia - a meeting place of the mythological Gods.
“There is a Samoan legend, a group of chiefs at Internal Affairs Department talked about a Samoan legend that sits behind this. They call it ‘Alululu’. It’s a legend about this family, Tagaloa Lagi and his wife. Their kids are cloud, rain and thunder etc. and they have this meeting place. Where they meet is where the South Pacific Convergence zone is located.”