El Nino likely to last till April, push temperatures up globally: WMO

The ongoing El Niño event is expected to last at least until April 2024 contributing to further spike in global temperatures on land and the ocean, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned. The result could be a record warm year in 2024, close on the heels of 2023, which is set to be the warmest ever. For India, the impact could be a warm winter, more fog, and summer heat waves, an expert said.
“E Niño impacts on global temperature typically play out in the year after its development, in this case in 2024. But as a result of record high land and sea-surface temperatures since June, the year 2023 is now on track to be the warmest year on record. Next year may be even warmer. This is clearly and unequivocally due to the contribution of the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
As of mid-October 2023, sea surface temperatures and other atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the central-eastern tropical Pacific are consistent with El Niño, the warm phase of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the agency said. The El Niño developed rapidly during July-August, and reached moderate strength by September, 2023 and is likely to peak as a ‘strong; event in November – January 2024. There is a 90% likelihood it will persist throughout the upcoming northern hemisphere winter/southern hemisphere summer, WMO added. Based on historical patterns and current long-range predictions, it is expected that El Nino will gradually diminish around April.
El Niño occurs on average every two to seven years, and typically lasts nine to 12 months. It is a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. HT reported on November 2 that ocean and land temperatures continued their record-breaking spree in October. Sea surface and land temperatures have been at record highs for seven and five months respectively, according to data maintained by University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer. October was the warmest on record, Europe’s climate monitor said.
The trend started in April, a result of an intensifying El Nino in addition to global warming. Copernicus Marine’s data said that as of 20 October, sea surface temperature anomalies reached peaks of +3 to +5°C at various locations in the Mediterranean Sea. September was the warmest September in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA’s) 174-year global climate record, NOAA said in a statement on October 13. “Extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, wildfires, heavy rain and floods will be enhanced in some regions, with major impacts. That is why WMO is committed to the Early Warnings for All initiative to save lives and minimize economic losses,” said Taalas.
The previous warmest year on record was 2016 due to a “double whammy” of an exceptionally strong El Niño and climate change.
Since May 2023, monthly average sea surface temperature anomalies in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific have warmed significantly, rising from about 0.5 °C above average in May, 2023) to around 1.5 °C above average in September, 2023. Source: HT

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