El Niño reason for rising temperature worldwide

Henry

New data recorded by the United Nations (UN) World Meteorological Organization (WMO) show that the El Niño weather phenomenon that peaked in December was one of the five strongest weather phenomena on record.

Although the weather phenomenon is slowly weakening, its effects will continue to be felt over the following months.

In a quarterly report that the WMO launched on Tuesday, above average temperatures are expected around the world between March and May.

El Niño, a weather system that arises due to the large-scale warming of surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, usually has the greatest effect on the global climate in the year after it develops – in this case 2024.

It is usually associated with warmer weather worldwide, drought in some parts of the world and heavy rain elsewhere. The weather phenomenon occurs on average every two to seven years and can last between nine and 12 months.

The WMO says there is a 60% chance that El Niño will continue between March and May, and an 80% chance of neutral conditions between April and June. There is also a chance that a La Niña phenomenon could develop later this year, but how big this chance is is still unclear.

Celeste Saulo, head of the WMO, is of the opinion that the increase in temperature has been exacerbated by El Niño, but that it must also be seen within the larger context of human action.

Concentrations of the three largest greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – are mainly to blame. Saulo says last year was by far the hottest year yet. This is a worrying phenomenon, but cannot be explained solely by the El Niño phenomenon.

These countries are badly affected

El Niño, which originated in June, was at its strongest between November and January.

This peaked at about 2 °C above the mean sea surface temperature from 1991 to 2020 for the tropical eastern and central Pacific.

The El Niño phenomenon is typically associated with increased rainfall in parts of southern South America, the southern US, the Somali Peninsula and central Asia.

It could also cause severe droughts over Australia, Indonesia, parts of southern Asia, Central America and northern South America.

Between 2020 and early last year, the world was affected by an unusually prolonged La Niña, which lasted for three years. However, the cooler effects did not stop the nine warmest individual years on record all starting in 2015.

The WMO has advocated for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.