New Delhi: The expected natural weather event known as El Nino has emerged and likely adding heat to a planet already warming under climate change, according to US scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
With this, extreme weather conditions like cyclones in the Pacific Islands, heavy rainfall in South America and droughts in some parts of Asia and Australia are likely to occur.
US scientists also confirmed that it will likely make 2024 the world’s hottest year.
In the monthly outlook released recently, forecasters issued an El Nino Advisory, noting that El Nino conditions are present and are expected to gradually strengthen into the winter.
El Nino is a natural climate phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator, which occurs on average every 2-7 years. El Nino’s impacts on the climate extend far beyond the Pacific Ocean.
NOAA calls an El Nino when ocean temperatures in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific, have been 0.5 Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) higher than normal for the preceding month, and has lasted or is expected to continue for another five consecutive, overlapping three-month periods.
”Depending on its strength, El Nino can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world,” said Michelle L’Heureux, climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center. “Climate change can exacerbate or mitigate certain impacts related to El Nino.
For example, El Nino could lead to new records for temperatures, particularly in areas that already experience above-average temperatures during El Nino.”
A single El Nino event will not result in all of these impacts, but El Nino increases the odds of them occurring.
The anticipated persistence of El Nino also contributed to the 2023 Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane Outlooks issued by NOAA last month.
El Nino conditions usually help to suppress Atlantic Hurricane activity, while the presence of El Nino typically favors strong hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific Basins.
The Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks will continue to take into account current and forecasted El Nino conditions. These seasonal outlooks are updated monthly, with the next update on June 15. The Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook will be updated in early August.
Scientists have been forecasting the development of El Nino for the last few months and issued the first El Nino Watch on April 13.
It’s worth recalling that the latest El Nino occurred in 2016, and the world witnessed it as the hottest year on record. This year’s El Nino, which is a hot spell, coupled with warming due to climate change, can lead temperatures to new highs. The cooler counterpart of El Nino is called La Nina, which ended in March this year after being in place for three consecutive years.
NOAA said that there is a 56% chance that this year’s El Nino would reach its peak during winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It also said that the eastern Pacific Ocean surface temperature may rise to at least 1.5 degrees Celsius above the normal.