El Niño will cause above-normal heat until May, says UN – 03/05/2024 – Environment

El Niño will cause above-normal heat until May, says UN – 03/05/2024 – Environment


The meteorological phenomenon El Niño, which reached maximum intensity in December, is one of the five strongest ever recorded, the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) announced this Tuesday (5). The entity predicts temperatures higher than the average from March to May on the planet.

“Above normal temperatures are predicted in almost all land areas between March and May”, highlighted the WMO, an organization linked to the UN (United Nations).

El Niño “is progressively losing strength, but will continue to have an impact on the world’s climate in the coming months, fueling the heat captured by greenhouse gases emitted by human activities”, explained the organization.

El Niño is a natural meteorological phenomenon, which corresponds to the warming of a large part of the tropical Pacific. It appears every two to seven years, lasting nine to 12 months.

The phenomenon modifies the atmosphere on a planetary scale and heats distant areas. The impact, highlights the WMO, adds to climate change caused by human activities.

“There is almost a 60% chance that El Niño will persist between March and May and an 80% chance of neutral conditions [sem o El Niño ou o fenômeno oposto, La Niña] from April to June”, indicated the WMO.

“Each month since June 2023 has recorded a new monthly temperature record, and 2023 was by far the hottest year on record,” highlighted Celeste Saulo, new secretary-general of the WMO.

Worrying temperature in January

“El Niño contributed to record temperatures, but heat-trapping greenhouse gases are certainly the main culprits,” he said.

“Ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific clearly reflect El Niño. But sea surface temperatures in other parts of the globe have been persistent and exceptionally high in the last ten months”, explains Celeste Saulo, an Argentine meteorologist who has headed the organization since January.

“The sea surface temperature in January 2024 was by far the highest ever recorded for this month. It is worrying and cannot be explained by El Niño alone”, he warns.

The current El Niño episode, which began in June 2023, peaked between November and January.

The phenomenon recorded a maximum index of almost 2.0°C above the average sea surface temperature for the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean compared to the period from 1991 to 2020.

The WMO indicates that there is a possibility that La Niña, which unlike El Niño causes a reduction in temperatures, will develop “later this year”, after a period of neutral conditions between April and June. The entity, however, considers the probabilities uncertain at the moment.


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