What Is El Niño? The Event To Make 2024 The Hottest Year.

The last few decades have been witness to constantly worsening climate. A new record-breaking hottest day each summer, out-of-season rainfall in the monsoon belt, shortening winter periods which don’t even get as cold anymore. All of these and more are directly linked to the world’s average temperature increase.

El Niño is a natural climate event which is short-hand for El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This event is declared when sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise to at least 0.5C above the long-term average. 

This El Niño event happened a month or two earlier than most El Niños do, which mean it will grow more than then others. There’s a 56% chance it will be considered strong and a 25% chance it reaches supersized levels, said climate scientist Michelle L’Heureux, Head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s El Niño/La Niña forecast office who issued the announcement advisory of the event Thursday.

A short gap between the events leaves communities with less time to recover from the damages of the last one and prepare for the new one. El Niño events usually halt Atlantic hurricane activity in the coastal regions of Central America, the Caribbean, and some states in the USA, but augment tropical cyclones in the Pacific. Moreover, predictions for this event don’t see this positive effect occurring due to record-hot Atlantic temperatures.

2016 and 1998 saw record global warmth caused by the strong El Niño of the past. Next year- 2024, was already very likely to set record-hot temperatures because El Niño reach its peak during winters, however, this one started earlier than usual meaning the peak will occur even earlier.

We just got out of an unusually strong and long La Niña, the opposite of an El Niño, which led to droughts in the western USA and expanded the Atlantic hurricane season. What El Niño means for the next couple of months is a return to normal in some regions of the Pacific coastal area. “If you’ve been suffering three years of a profound drought like in South America, then a tilt toward wet might be welcome to development,” L’Heureux said.

El Niño strongly tilts Australia toward drier and warmer conditions with northern South America — Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela — likely to be drier and Southeast Argentina and parts of Chile likely to be wetter, she said. India and Indonesia also tend to be dry through August in El Niño.

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