El Niño is back: Wildfires, landslides and a new heat record | Climate
The waters of the Pacific Ocean are now slowly warming: a sign of the approach El Nino. It causes extreme weather in most parts of the world. Along with global warming, El Nino could lead to a new global heat record, NASA’s head of climate research tells NU.nl – possibly in 2023.
Forest fires in Borneo, droughts in Australia and landslides in South America. The world is beset by frequent weather disasters. But sometimes they can be predicted months in advance – by scientists monitoring the temperature of the Pacific Ocean.
Water temperatures are slowly increasing west of Peru right now. If the water there is more than half a degree warmer than normal over a large area, it is officially referred to as El Niño. That level is expected to be reached by the end of this month.
According to Climate models The warm water then extends beyond the equator and remains until 2024. During this period, it has major effects on the weather, especially in the tropical regions around the Pacific Ocean.
The atmosphere cannot lose heat during El Niño
El Niño also affects global temperatures. The atmosphere loses less greenhouse heat to ocean water during El Niño. As a result, the temperature of the air on earth will increase rapidly. This effect usually occurs somewhat late.
“In an average El Niño, global temperatures rise by 0.06 degrees. But in a very strong environment, like in 2016, it could be twice as much,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). .
Schmidt now takes into account a more powerful El Niño, which will affect the Earth’s climate until 2024 and raise temperatures by 0.06 to 0.12 degrees.
The heat record may be broken in 2023, almost as soon as 2024
With increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and the climate warming by approximately 0.2 degrees every ten years, an additional boost from El Niño would most likely lead to a new global warming record.
Schmidt says the only question is in which year. “We will almost certainly record another warm year in 2024. And I give a one in three chance that we will break the current record in 2023.”
According to NASA, 2016 and 2020 are the hottest years on record to date.
Wat is El Niño?
- El Niño is een natuurlijke schommeling in de watertemperatuur van de Grote Oceaan. Het komt elke twee tot zeven jaar voor, maar is niet altijd even sterk.
- Boven de Grote Oceaan zwakken tropische passaatwinden tijdelijk sterk af. Deze passaatwinden blazen warm water van oost naar west over de oceaan. Bij het stilvallen is vooral het water in het oostelijke deel van de oceaan warmer dan normaal.
- Door het verschil in watertemperatuur blijven de passaatwinden zwak. Zo kan El Niño zichzelf versterken en maandenlang in stand blijven.
Drought in Indonesia, extreme rain in Peru
Millions of people around the world will experience weather elevation. This is especially true in countries on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.
Heavy rain will develop over extra warm water in the east. For example, during El Niño, rains continue along the west coast of Central and South America. On hill slopes, this can lead to landslides. Fishermen in Peru also know to count on empty nets in warmer waters.
During El Niño, persistent high pressure areas may arise along the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is sunny and dry for long periods over Australia and Indonesia.
These areas are often affected by forest fires during El Nino. As a result, global (net) CO2 emissions can be up to a quarter higher during a strong El Niño.
Europe alone largely escapes the dance
El Nino can also be felt in Africa, North America and other parts of Asia. India is mostly dry, while Sri Lanka and Pakistan expect more rain. Southern Africa is more prone to drought, while East Africa is often affected by floods during El Niño.
That extra rain also affects South America. The country could prepare for a quieter hurricane season next fall: Fewer hurricanes form during El Niño in the Atlantic Ocean, but more in the Pacific Ocean.
Europe is the only continent without clear direct effects of El Niño. However, the year after an El Niño, the waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are often extra warm. It can affect our weather.
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