Scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on Thursday, announced the arrival of an expected climate phenomenon called El Nino. This has raised concerns about the possibility of extreme weather conditions and the breaking of temperature records.
El Nino is characterized by warmer sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. This weather pattern previously occurred in 2018-19 and typically happens every 2-7 years on average.
Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at NOAA, said that the strength of El Nino can lead to various impacts. These include an increased risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in specific regions across the globe.
L’Heureux also pointed out that the effects of El Nino can be influenced by climate change. In some cases, it can worsen the impacts, while in others, it may help mitigate them.
Thursday, June 8, 2023, 7:41 AM PDT We are now officially in El Niño advisory territory which means that El Niño conditions now will continue to grow rapidly through the rest of the Summer and become a full basin El Niño by October 2023 Leading to a strong atmospherically… pic.twitter.com/GQKowFZ3K9
— Jason D Farhang (@jason61987) June 8, 2023
For instance, El Nino could potentially result in new temperature records, especially in areas that already experience above-average temperatures during El Nino events.
Australia issued a warning this week, stating that the El Nino phenomenon is expected to bring hotter and drier days to the country, increasing its vulnerability to severe bushfires. Similarly, Japan attributed its warmest spring on record partly to the development of El Nino.
Effects of supercharged temperatures of El Nino on poor people
Historically, many of the hottest years on record have coincided with El Nino events. This has raised concerns among scientists who fear that this summer and the following year could witness unprecedented temperatures both on land and in the oceans.
Mariana Paoli, representing the relief agency Christian Aid, expressed her concerns regarding the situation.
She emphasized that impoverished individuals are already being pushed to their limits due to droughts, floods, and storms caused by the burning of fossil fuels. Now, they will also have to face the intensified heat brought about by the El Nino effect.
It is worth noting that these vulnerable populations, who are most heavily impacted by climate change, have contributed the least to its cause, Paoli further expressed.
Overall impact of El Nino in different regions of the USA
The impact of El Nino on the United States is relatively weak during the summer months but becomes more significant starting from late fall and extending through spring, according to NOAA’s statement.
As we approach winter, there is an estimated 84 percent probability of a “greater than moderate” El Nino occurrence and a 56 percent probability of a strong El Nino event.
In such cases, certain regions of the country can expect deviations from average weather patterns.
Record heat is manifesting everywhere at once:
🌎🌡️📈Earth's hemispheres are simultaneously showing record daily Surface Air Temperatures.
🌊🌡️📈Sea Surface Temperatures are record high.
🧊➡️🌊Global Sea Ice extent is record low.
And El Niño is just getting started.. pic.twitter.com/nKWVXdYJJv
— Leon Simons (@LeonSimons8) June 8, 2023
Typically, areas ranging from southern California to the Gulf Coast may experience wetter conditions than usual. On the other hand, the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley might encounter drier conditions compared to the norm.
Furthermore, the likelihood of above-average temperatures increases in the northern parts of the country during an El Nino episode.
NOAA had already taken developing El Nino conditions into account when formulating their hurricane predictions last month.
El Nino tends to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic while simultaneously amplifying it in the central and eastern Pacific regions.