HomePOPULAREl Niño Event Extends into 2024: A Warming World Faces New Challenges

El Niño Event Extends into 2024: A Warming World Faces New Challenges

El Niño‘s Lingering Impact on Global Temperatures
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued a dire warning that the ongoing El Niño event is set to persist at least until April 2024, potentially leading to a further surge in global temperatures on land and in the oceans. This announcement comes on the heels of what is projected to be the warmest year ever in 2023. The resulting trend could culminate in a record-warm 2024, as the world grapples with the consequences of a changing climate.
El Niño’s influence on global temperatures typically manifests in the year following its development, which, in this case, is expected to be 2024. However, due to record-high land and sea-surface temperatures recorded since June, 2023 is on course to become the warmest year on record. The WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, attributes this rise in temperatures unequivocally to the escalating levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases produced by human activities.
Implications for India: A Warmer Winter, Increased Fog, and Summer Heatwaves
As of mid-October 2023, various atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the central-eastern tropical Pacific align with El Niño, the warm phase of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This El Niño event intensified rapidly from July to August and reached moderate strength by September, 2023. It is predicted to peak as a ‘strong’ event between November and January 2024.
There is a 90% likelihood that it will persist throughout the upcoming northern hemisphere winter and southern hemisphere summer. Historical patterns and long-range forecasts suggest that El Niño will gradually diminish around April.
For India, the ramifications of this extended El Niño event are significant. Experts anticipate a relatively warm winter, more occurrences of western disturbances leading to increased fog between December and February, and the likelihood of more pre-monsoon heatwaves, particularly in April and May. Fortunately, the Indian monsoon of 2023 was near normal, offering some relief, even in regions that experienced deficient rainfall. India’s 2024 monsoon is also expected to recover from the impacts of the El Niño event.
El Niño events, which occur on average every two to seven years and typically last between nine to twelve months, are associated with the warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. This natural climate pattern, combined with the effects of global warming, has far-reaching consequences on regional and global climate patterns.
It is important to emphasize that El Niño is not the sole driver of global and regional climate patterns, and the magnitudes of El Niño indicators do not always correlate directly with the magnitudes of their effects. However, the persistence of this major El Niño event through 2024 highlights the ongoing challenges posed by climate change and underscores the need for early warning systems to mitigate the impacts of extreme events, such as heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, heavy rains, and floods.
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