PETALING JAYA: The likelihood of El Niño, or prolonged warming in the Pacific Ocean, developing in the second half of this year, may worsen dry weather conditions, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel. The prevailing neutral conditions of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso) is expected to persist for the first half of this year. This was disclosed by the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre's (ASMC) during the 16th Meeting of Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution on April 2 in Brunei Darussalam, said Palanivel. Palanivel told theSun that rainfall is expected to be below average for most parts of the southern region until end of the southwest monsoon season in early October. He added that countries in the region have pledged to monitor the situation and take proactive preventive measures including resorting to fire suppression in the event of any occurrence of transboundary haze in the coming months. Palanivel said the ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand or their representatives who met at the meeting had voiced their concern over the recent unusual dry weather conditions which resulted in serious escalation of fires in several countries in the region.