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Climate Change

2023-24 El Nino Among Five Strongest On Record, Will Continue Fuelling Heat In 2024: WMO

El Nino — a periodic warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean — occurs every two to seven years on an average, and typically lasts nine to 12 months

2023-24 El Nino Among Five Strongest On Record, Will Continue Fuelling Heat In 2024: WMO
The prevailing El Nino conditions fuelled record temperatures and extreme events the world over, with 2023 being the warmest on record

New Delhi: The 2023-24 El Nino has peaked as one of the five strongest on record and will continue to impact global climate in the coming months despite a weakening trend, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Tuesday (March 5). The UN agency also said above-normal temperatures are predicted over almost all land areas between March and May.

The prevailing El Nino conditions fuelled record temperatures and extreme events the world over, with 2023 being the warmest on record.

Also Read: India To See Warmer Summer, More Heatwave Days This Year: India Meteorological Department

According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the global mean temperature breached the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold for an entire year for the first time in January.

A permanent breach of the 1.5-degree Celsius limit, specified in the Paris Agreement, however, refers to long-term warming over many years.

In its latest update, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said there is about a 60 per cent chance of El Nino persisting during March-May and an 80 per cent likelihood of neutral conditions (neither El Nino nor La Nina) during April to June.

There is a chance of La Nina developing later in the year but those odds are currently uncertain, it said.

Scientists closely tracking the development in India have said La Nina conditions setting in by June-August could mean monsoon rains would be better this year than in 2023.

El Nino — a periodic warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean — occurs every two to seven years on an average, and typically lasts nine to 12 months.

Also Read: Record-Breaking Rise In Greenhouse Gases Threatens Climate Goals: World Meteorological Organisation Report

It is associated with increased rainfall in the Horn of Africa and the southern US, and unusually dry and warm conditions in Southeast Asia, Australia and southern Africa. WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said,

Every month since June 2023 has set a new monthly temperature record — and 2023 was, by far, the warmest year on record. El Nino has contributed to these record temperatures but heat-trapping greenhouse gases are unequivocally the main culprit.

She said,

Ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific clearly reflect El Nino. But sea-surface temperatures in other parts of the globe have been persistently and unusually high for the past 10 months. The January 2024 sea-surface temperature was by far the highest on record for January. This is worrying and cannot be explained by El Nino alone.

Scientists say El Nino typically has the greatest impact on the global climate in the second year of its development — 2024, in this instance.

The continuing, albeit weaker, El Nino and predicted above-normal sea-surface temperatures over much of the global oceans are expected to lead to above-normal temperatures over almost all land areas in the next three months, and influence regional rainfall patterns, according to a Global Seasonal Climate Update issued by the WMO.

The current El Nino event, which developed in June 2023, was at its strongest between November and January. It displayed a peak value of about 2.0 degrees Celsius above the 1991 to 2020 average sea-surface temperature for the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This made it one of the five strongest El Nino events ever, though it was weaker than the 1997-98 and 2015-2016 events.

El Nino is mainly a seasonal climate phenomenon with climate impacts on seasonal climate averages but can make extreme weather and climate-events more likely in certain regions.

The WMO said the seasonal forecasts are found to be more accurate during El Nino and La Nina events, particularly in the tropics, and this emphasises the pivotal role of early warnings to support decision-making and enhance preparedness and anticipatory action. WMO’s Saulo said,

El Nino events have a major impact on societies and economies. Accurate seasonal forecasts from the WMO community helped countries prepare in advance to try to limit the damage in climate sensitive sectors like agriculture, water resources and health. Early warnings of weather and climate extremes associated with El Nino have saved countless lives.

Also Read: World Faces 2.8°C Rise After ‘Woefully Inadequate’ Climate Pledges, UN Says

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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