The El Niño weather phenomenon, which is currently responsible for higher temperatures worldwide, is expected to continue until at least April next year.
The United Nations (UN) World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday that the current El Niño, which developed rapidly between July and August this year, is likely to reach a peak between now and January.
“There is a 90% probability that this will continue throughout the coming Northern Hemisphere winter and Southern Hemisphere summer,” the organization said in its latest update on Wednesday.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon typically associated with increased temperatures worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rain elsewhere.
This weather phenomenon typically occurs every two to seven years, and usually increases temperatures worldwide in the year after it develops.
The hottest year currently on record is 2016 – the year after an unusually strong El Niño developed.
However, weather experts now say the world is on track to beat that record this year.
Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization, says 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record due to record high land and sea surface temperatures since June.
However, Taalas warned that next year could be even hotter.
“This is clearly and unequivocally due to the contribution of the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities,” Taalas explained on Wednesday.
“Extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, heavy rains and floods will intensify in some regions.”
The El Niño weather phenomenon last occurred before this year in 2018 and 2019, followed by an unusually long La Niña that ended earlier this year.