World weather agency warns of hotter summer as El Niño looms
El Niño, the weather phenomenon that can push global temperatures even higher, has a 55% chance of taking place from this June to August, according to long-term modelling from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The prediction was reported in Geneva on Wednesday, but the WMO noted it is subject to great uncertainty. The weather event appears every few years.
Still meteorologists at the agency said the chance that one of the next four years will break the temperature record is 93%. The highest average temperature since industrialization was recorded in 2016, when it was about 1.3 degrees above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900).
That year was marked by El Niño, according to the WMO. Last year was the fifth or sixth-warmest year. The differences are too small to rank.
El Niño often occurs in South America during the Christmas season. In November, the WMO had its probability at 25%.
Other experts have also been predicting a possible El Niño event this year.
El Niño and its counterpart La Niña favor extreme weather in different regions of the world. El Niño describes the warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean and alters air and water currents worldwide.
It usually brings severe drought in Australia, parts of Africa and South America and heavy rainfall along the Pacific coast from Washington to California, for example.
La Niña's end could lead to spike in global temperatures
La Niña is considered to be a cold phase in which the current carries the warming via solar radiation into deep waters of the Western Pacific, where it is stored.
For the first time in around 20 years, three La Niña years have followed each other since 2020. This is now over, said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas.
"La Niña’s cooling effect put a temporary brake on rising global temperatures, even though the past eight-year period was the warmest on record," he said.
"If we do now enter an El Niño phase, this is likely to fuel another spike in global temperatures," said Taalas.
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