Scientists warn that the chance of the ocean-warming event, El Niño, occurring this year is now over 90%. El Niño, a significant climatic event caused by Pacific Ocean current changes, is potent enough to affect global weather patterns and marine ecosystems, particularly in combination with human-induced climate change, according to a report by Harry Baker for Live Science.
Baker says the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) had previously estimated a 60% chance of El Niño commencing between May and July, but the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) later revised this forecast to a near certainty. NOAA also suggests a 90% likelihood of El Niño extending into 2024.
El Niño, characterized by weakened trade winds and warmer surface waters, can stimulate extreme weather events. NOAA’s predictions indicate an 80% chance of at least a moderate El Niño, with sea surface temperatures rising by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and a 55% chance of a strong El Niño, with temperatures increasing by 2.7 F.
Worryingly, recent record-breaking global sea surface temperatures could exacerbate the upcoming El Niño. The event’s resultant weather pattern alterations could bring warmer weather and less rainfall to the northern U.S. and Canada, and heavy rainfall, potentially causing floods and landslides, to the southern U.S. and northern Mexico. The WMO anticipates a surge in global temperatures as El Niño starts, which could seriously affect millions of people.