El Nino has arrived, bringing promise of worldwide weather turmoil

Experts say it will likely make 2024 the world's hottest year

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A climate activist protests in New York on Friday Photo: reuters


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A weather-changing El Niño that packs the power to blunt the Atlantic hurricane season has begun.

Sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean have risen 0.5oC (0.9F) above normal and wind patterns have changed to the point where El Niño criteria has been met, the US Climate Prediction Center said. 

The agency that is part of the National Weather Service is also certain those conditions will persist.

Experts say it will likely make 2024 the world’s hottest year.

They fear it will help push the world past 1.5oC warming milestone. 

The event will likely last until next spring, after which its impacts will recede. The researchers believe this event has 84 per cent chance of exceeding moderate strength by the end of this year.

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There will be a large human and economic cost to this oncoming weather event. The strong El Niño in 1997-98 cost over $5 trillion with around 23,000 deaths.

“El Niño conditions are present and we expect them to mature and grow as we get into the Northern Hemisphere winter,” Michelle L’Heureux, a forecaster with the centre, said in an interview.

El Niños upset weather patterns the world over and can bring drought to Australia and India and more rain during California winters. 

The phenomenon can unleash wind shear across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico that can tear apart hurricanes and tropical storms, though there are few other effects to North America over the next three months.

“Impacts over North America during the summer are very limited,” L’Heureux said.

This marks the first El Niño in more than three years, and forecasters believe it will at least be a moderate and possibly a strong one. The stronger El Niños are, the more likely they will have impacts on weather patterns around the globe.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said that the world is on the verge of an El Niño, but came short of declaring one. 

The US and Australia use different criteria to define the phenomenon.

“It is just a criteria thing,” L’Heureux said.

In the past, a strong El Niño has led to record global warmth, like in 2016 and 1998. Scientists earlier this year had been saying next year is more likely to set a record heat, especially because El Niño usually reach peak power in winter. But this El Nino started even earlier than usual.


 Experts say it will make 2024 the world’s hottest year

 It will help push the world past 1.5oC warming milestone

 May bring drought to Australia and weaken India’s monsoon

First Published: Jun 9 2023 | 11:12 PM IST

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