Fears of Super El Niño grow in autumn: ‘Deaths as a result’
Buienradar’s meteorologist Maurice Middendorp is now certain: “El Niño is coming. It will be official in two months.” But that’s not all, according to Middendorp, there is also the possibility of a so-called ‘Super El Niño’.
Warm water in South America
First, let’s look at the description of the weather phenomenon. Because what is El Niño? Middendorp explains: “Warm ocean water bubbles off the coast of South America. As a result, warm air rises and you get low pressure areas there. On the other side of the Pacific Ocean you get high pressure areas. In other words, heat and dryness. A chain reaction around the world.”
It’s not clear why the warm water bubbles up in South America, Middendorp says. “Scientists are still in the dark.”
Effects of El Niño at a Glance:
If seawater in the Pacific Ocean deviates by more than 0.5 degrees for three months, we’re talking about El Niño, Middendorf says. But if that ocean water deviates more than 2 degrees for three months, we talk about Super El Nino. And then the consequences will surely be even greater. In this chart See expectations for the future.
Warm years ahead
There were such super El Niños in 1997 and late 2015/early 2016, As you can see in these numbers. The UN estimates that 60 million people are in dire straits due to this event. For example, there was a famine in South Africa and Australia was hit by severe forest fires. However, massive floods in South America claimed many lives. Millions lost their homes.
2016 was the last strong El Niño to date. Because of this, the year was the hottest year on record. Let’s get our hearts wet. KNMI: “If El Nino really continues, 2024 will be warmer than 2016.”
But the effects – as you can see in the image above – are not uniform across the globe. An overview of El Nino’s components and effects:
Netherlands / Europe
Let’s look at ourselves first, will we be affected by El Niño? Short answer: not really. But due to El Nino, there is a possibility of a wet spring again next year. Spring following El Nino is generally wetter than normal in Europe. KNMI: “This is a late effect of El Niño. A wet spring stretches across southern England, northern France, the Netherlands, Belgium and an area around Germany and Ukraine. In Spain and Portugal, some more rain with El Niño in autumn.”
Still. In general, this can be said: Europe is less affected by the consequences compared to the rest of the world.
One of the most important effects of El Niño is that the rain zone over Southeast Asia moves toward the Pacific Ocean. Effect: Dryness. In Indonesia and the Philippines, it can severely impact harvests. Food supplies in this region may come under pressure from El Niño.
The northern part of South America does not like El Niño. The northern coast of South America is also drying up due to El Nino. In general, the tropics are warming, causing the Earth’s average temperature to be somewhat higher. The KNMI says southern Brazil and Uruguay will see slightly more rain.
Seawater also has a major impact on coral reefs, says climatologist Bart Verhagen. “Coral bleaches at a certain temperature, and if it persists for too long it can die.”
Autumn is also wet in East Africa, while it is slightly warmer and drier in the south of Africa. “There is also a weak effect on rainfall in the Sahel,” says KNMI.
Middendorf sees the Horn of Africa already getting wet. “The soil there is very dry and doesn’t absorb anything. That’s because it’s been dry for recent years. The result is the flooding now.”
This may not sound very serious at first. A little wet there, a little dry there, a little cold there, a little hot there. But it can be more serious.
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