NOAA Warns El Nino Could Be a Significant Event

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noaa, el nino, weather, climate, extreme weather

noaa, el nino, weather, climate, extreme weather

El Nino is a term used to refer to the “warming of the ocean surface or above-average sea surface temperatures” in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, according to the US Geological Survey, and can affect weather patterns across the globe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned on Thursday that an El Nino system is readying to strike the Pacific Ocean this summer, and that it may stay in place through the coming winter months.

According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC), the chance of El Nino developing this summer is now over 90%, a forecast that plays a major role in the number of hurricanes experienced in North America during hurricane season.

Over the last three years, the strip of water where El Nino occurs has been cooler than average (a system which is referred to as La Nina). But this period of cooler temperatures ended in March as the waters began to warm again (becoming El Nino).

The area has not created an El Nino system yet, as the temperatures must first reach at least 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the length of at least a month, and continue for several months. But NOAA predicts a moderate El Nino is expected to begin sometime between this month and July. The odds of El Nino lasting into the Northern Hemisphere’s winter are now at least 82%.

Ben Noll, a New Zealand meteorologist, noted current sea-surface temperatures are already on a trajectory that is warmer than both 1997 and 1982, years which spurred strong El Nino events.

This summer’s El Nino could not only be the first since 2018 and 2019, but is predicted by the administration to be a strong one.

It could also be the first year when global surface temperatures, on average, are riding against the Paris Agreement’s stringent climate change target of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.

While El Nino is a naturally occurring event, it can accelerate human-caused climate change as the ocean heat is transferred to Earth’s atmosphere.

“A moderate to strong El Niño substantially increases the chance that 2024 will be the warmest year on record, and the odds that it might be the first year to surpass 1.5°C,” Zeke Hausfather, a climate research lead, told US media.

As El Nino affects the entire globe, some of the major weather events in the coming year could include: hurricanes, trade winds, much-needed rainfall for dry areas but also flooding for areas which are already saturated, a dryer Australia with an increase in wildfire risks, tropical cyclones in and around Hawaii, and coral bleaching events.





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