The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a warning of weather events at the end of this year. According to the organization, there is a 70% risk of El Niño to recur this year.
The last time it happened was in 2015-2016, impacting weather around the globe. The good news is that researchers expect this year’s event to be less intense as the last one.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stated:
“WMO does not expect the anticipated El Niño to be as powerful as the 2015-2016 event, but it will still have considerable impacts. The advance prediction of this event will help save many lives and considerable economic losses.”
WMO stated that the usual dynamics of these weather events are influenced by climate change.
The Southern Oscillation – El Niño
This natural weather event involves the ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific which fluctuate and influence the global weather. In 2015-2016, El Niño held a record in strength, impacting the temperatures which made 2016 the warmest year in the record books.
The event led to drought in Africa, floods in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
This year began with a different phase called La Niña, which is the opposite of El Niño – the temperatures at the sea surface in the Pacific were colder than average. According to WMO models, the event faded, leaving a chance of 70% of another El Niño to develop by the end of 2018.
Climate Change Influences El Niño Events
In the press release, Petteri Taalas explains that climate change might have an impact on this event, considering El Niño occurs once in 5 to 7 years, and it is now too close to the previous one:
“Climate change is influencing the traditional dynamics of El Niño and La Niña events as well as their impacts. 2018 started out with a weak La Niña event but its cooling effect was not enough to reduce the overall warming trend which means that this year is on track to be one of the warmest on record.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere