Although 2018 was the fifth-hottest year on record, 2023 may end up being even hotter due to the resurgence of El Nio, another climate trend that warms the surface of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
According to scientists, the re-emergence of El Ni o later this year could lead to record-breaking heat waves and off-the-chart temperature spikes, according to preliminary forecasts, according to The Guardian. This would make it very likely that Earth’s temperature will rise above the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, above which there is a significantly increased risk of deadly extreme weather and related crises like widespread drought, water, and food shortages, famine, sea level rise, species extinction, and ecosystem loss.
According to professor Adam Scaife, head of the long-range prediction at the UK Met Office, the next significant El Nio could very well cause temperatures to rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius, as The Irish Times reported. In the upcoming five years, there is currently a 50/50 chance that the first year will be at 1.5C.
With the help of El Ni o, 2016 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Ocean surface temperatures and winds in the Pacific Ocean determine Earth’s weather patterns. These oscillate between El Nio, the colder La Nia that was present the previous three years, and neutral circumstances.
According to Scaife, as quoted by The Irish Times, “We know that under climate change, the implications of El Ni o occurrences are going to get stronger, and you have to add that to the effects of climate change itself, which is expanding every day.” When you combine those two factors, the next El Ni o is anticipated to bring forth heat waves that have never been seen before.
El Ni o occurs in the northern hemisphere during the winter, hence in this case, 2024 is the most likely year to experience its heat.
We predict that 2024 will likely break all previous records for warmth. The current La Ni is not expected to last for a fourth year. According to scientist James Hansen at Columbia University last year, even a minor El Ni o should be enough to cause a record-breaking increase in the earth’s temperature. He continued by saying that China’s reduced air pollution, which blocks out the sun, was also causing a spike in warmth.
Global temperatures have risen by around 1.2 degrees Celsius as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from humans to date, resulting in heat waves, severe droughts, catastrophic flooding, and extreme weather across the planet.
The El Nio-La Nia cycle is responsible for the greatest year-to-year fluctuations in weather in various places of the world.
These events can now be predicted by science months in advance. Therefore, Scaife added, “We really do need to use it and be more prepared, from having preparedness of emergency services down to what crops to plant.”
Although scientists have a good understanding of what El Ni o will do in advance, they claim that at the start of the summer, the forecast will be more certain.