Following an exceptionally long La Niña climate phenomenon, which intensified drought and precipitation, a possible return of the warm El Niño episode threatens to break world temperature records, the United Nations weather agency warned on Wednesday.
He La Nina phenomenon it is characterized by a cooling of ocean temperatures in the central and eastern part of the equatorial Pacific.
The current episode began in September 2020 and managed to partially mitigate global warming.
But both 2021 and 2022 were the warmest years on record since 2015, warned the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in its quarterly update.
“The cooling caused by the long La Niña episode temporarily contained the increase in global temperatures, despite the fact that the period of the last eight years was the warmest on record,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
The UN agency warned, however, that although La Niña is coming to an end, there is a high probability that the inverse warm phenomenon, called El Niño, will occur.
“If we now enter an El Niño phase, it is likely that there will be another uptick in global temperatures,” he added.
The La Niña phenomenon occurs every two to seven years. and alternates with the reverse episode and neutral moments. These temperature variations can cause major climate fluctuations around the world.
The chances of the El Niño phenomenon forming during the first half of the year are low (15% in April-June), although they will increase progressively between May and July (up to 35%) and will increase notably between July and August (55 %), indicates the WMO.
“We need two or three more months to have a more reliable idea of what will happen,” warned Álvaro Silva, a consultant for the agency.
“Tracking the oscillation between the two phases helps countries prepare for potential shocks, such as floods, droughts or extreme heat,” he told AFP.
Although El Niño and La Niña are natural phenomena, they occur in a “context of climate change caused by human activity that increases global temperatures, affects seasonal rainfall patterns and causes more extreme temperatures”, underlines the WMO.
With information from AFP
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