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NOAA says El Niño is here: Will this be the warmest year on record?

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  • Staff Report 

The El Niño climate pattern, notorious for its impact on global weather, has officially formed, announced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center on Thursday.

El Niño is characterized by warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and can cause severe weather phenomena such as heavy rainfall and droughts depending on its intensity.

The Climate Prediction Center suggests a 56% probability of a strong event at its peak, with an 84% chance of at least a moderate occurrence.

El Niño, known for having more significant effects on the U.S. during late fall through spring, generally results in wetter conditions from southern California to the Gulf Coast and drier conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley during fall and winter.

It often suppresses Atlantic hurricane activity by increasing vertical wind shear, which hampers the formation of strong hurricanes. However, record hot Atlantic temperatures this year might neutralize this effect. Historically, strong El Niño occurrences have led to global heat records, such as in 1998 and 2016, putting 2023 in contention for the warmest year on record.

Categories: Weather