Climate Change

Likelihood of warming El Nino this year increasing: WMO

There are 60% chances of a transition from ENSO-neutral to El Nino phase during May-July and the likelihood increases gradually: WMO update

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 03 May 2023
Photo: iStock

The prolonged La Nina climatic pattern that is associated with cooler temperatures has ended and the likelihood of El Nino development this year has increased, according to a new update by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 

There is a 60 per cent chance of an El Nino developing during May-July 2023, the update read. “This will increase to about 70% in June-August and 80% between July and September.

El Nino is the warmer phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. It is associated with warming of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. It occurs on average every two to seven years, and the episodes usually last nine to 12 months, according to WMO. 

The El Nino years are usually hotter and are marked by heatwaves, droughts as well as rainfall in several parts of the world. 

In parts of southern South America, the United States, the Horn of Africa and central Asia, for instance, the climatic condition leads to increased rainfall. But in Australia, Indonesia and parts of southern Asia, it can result in severe droughts.

“We just had the eight warmest years on record, even though we had a cooling La Niña for the past three years and this acted as a temporary brake on global temperature increase. The development of an El Niño will most likely lead to a new spike in global heating and increase the chance of breaking temperature records,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The global weather agency said there is no indication of the strength or duration of El Niño yet. 

“From February 2023 onwards, there has been a significant increase in sea surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, with notably stronger warming along the coast of South America,” the update stated.

As of mid-April 2023, the sea surface temperatures and other atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the central-eastern tropical Pacific are consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions, it added. 

Read more: 

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.