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El Niño extended until April 2024, Raising temperature and EWE

The World Meteorological Organization has recently reported that the current El Niño event is likely to persist until at least April 2024.

By Ground Report
New Update
El Niño extended until April 2024, Raising temperature and EWE

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has recently reported that the current El Niño event is likely to persist until at least April 2024. This phenomenon is expected to influence weather patterns and contribute to a further increase in land and ocean temperatures.

El Niño to last until April 2024

As of mid-October 2023, indicators such as sea surface temperatures in the central-eastern tropical Pacific are consistent with El Niño, the warm phase of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The El Niño developed rapidly during July-August 2023, reached moderate strength by September, 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.

Historical patterns and current long-range predictions suggest that the forthcoming boreal spring will gradually diminish it. On average, El Niño events happen every two to seven years and typically last nine to 12 months. Warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean is associated with them, but human activities are changing the climate in which they occur.

The year 2023 is now on track to be the warmest year on record due to record high land and sea-surface temperatures since June. The year 2024 may be even warmer due to the impacts of El Niño on global temperature. This is clearly and unequivocally due to the contribution of the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities.

Extreme Weather events

Extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, wildfires, heavy rain, and floods will be enhanced in some regions, with major impacts. 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. These estimates are relative to the 1991-2020 baseline period.

The most recent forecasts and expert assessment suggest a high likelihood of continued warming in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific for at least the next four overlapping 3-month seasons: November-January, December-February, January-March, and February-April 2024.

A strong El Niño does not necessarily mean strong El Niño impacts locally. It is important to note that El Niño is not the only factor that drives global and regional climate patterns, and that the magnitudes of El Niño indicators do not directly correspond to the magnitudes of their effects. No two El Niño events are alike.

Global Seasonal Climate Update

The WMO also issues regular Global Seasonal Climate Updates (GSCU) that incorporate influences of the other major climate variability modes such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation, and the Indian Ocean Dipole, given that ENSO is not the only driver of the Earth’s climate system.

The Global Seasonal Climate Update (GSCU) for November-December-January indicates that the development of an El Niño in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific, along with the prediction of above-normal sea-surface temperatures over much of the global oceans, is likely to result in above-normal temperatures over almost all land areas.

Experts generally predict the largest increase in probabilities for above-normal temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere south of about 40°N and in the regions north of 65°N. Most of the Southern Hemisphere also shows enhanced probabilities for above-normal temperatures.

Rainfall predictions for the forthcoming three months are similar to many of the typical impacts of El Niño, including above-normal rainfall in the Greater Horn of Africa, in Parana/La Plata basin in South America, in Southeast North America, in parts of central and eastern Asia and in a narrow band along and just north of the equator in the Pacific.

Meteorologists predict below-normal rainfall in most of northern South America, over much of Australia, in the Maritime continent, and in the Pacific Ocean islands south of about 30°N, and immediately to the north of the wet band.

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