"The UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has confirmed it: El Niño
conditions have arrived and are expected to become moderate to strong as they
develop over the coming year. El Niño is the hot phase of a natural fluctuation
in the Earth’s climate system (the full name of which is the El Niño–Southern
Oscillation, or ENSO) which normally lasts for a couple of years and is
happening on top of a long-term trend of human-driven global warming.
This year is already proving hot. Widespread heatwaves have contributed to the
hottest June on record, temperatures in parts of the northeast Atlantic were up
to 5°C warmer than normal for June and sea ice around Antarctica is 2.5 million
square kilometres smaller than average for the time of year, well below any
level recorded since 1979.
This El Niño event is just getting started and so is only partially responsible
for these recent extremes. But with global average temperatures already high
this year, El Niño strengthening into next year could make 2024 the hottest
year on record. El Niño can add up to 0.2°C to global temperatures.
The WMO says it is now very likely that the Earth’s temperature will
temporarily exceed 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average by 2027. This is the
temperature limit world leaders promised to strive to limit long-term warming
to when they signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. Beyond it, scientists predict
the impacts of climate change will rapidly escalate.
These impacts could include the triggering of climate tipping points:
self-sustaining shifts in the climate system that lock in devastating changes
once critical warming levels are passed. An example is the West Antarctic ice
sheet, the irreversible collapse of which could be triggered once warming
seawater causes it to retreat back in to the deep submarine basin it sits in,
eventually adding up to 3 metres to global sea-level rise. Tipping points can
also lock in extra global warming by amplifying greenhouse gas emissions from
El Niño brewing in Pacific raises prospect of record-breaking heat
"Mild El Niño climatic conditions brewing in the Pacific Ocean will strengthen
throughout the year, with an outside chance of a record-breaking event that
will further turbocharge already sweltering temperatures around the globe,
scientists have forecast.
Last month saw a “weak” El Niño form, a periodic climatic event where the
circulation of the equatorial Pacific Ocean shifts and its temperature rises,
causing knock-on heat around the world, according to an update from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).
This Niño, which has replaced a three-year period of its reverse condition, La
Niña, which typically cools the globe, will almost certainly strengthen
throughout the year, with an 81% chance it will peak with a “moderate to strong
intensity” between November and January, Noaa said."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics