Quite plausible as the signs have showed warm water hanging about but could a multi-year La Niña follow after? It certainly took time for the last El Niño to get going.
In the waters of the far-eastern equatorial Pacific – close to the South American coast – sea-surface temperatures are beginning to rise, prompting some climate scientists to believe the world could be heading for another El Niño in close succession to the previous event which ended last year.
This diagram illustrates the observed sea surface temperature for a central region of the tropical Pacific (in black), and the evolution predicted by the Met Office dynamical long-range ensemble forecast system (in red). A typical threshold for El Niño is for the sea surface temperature anomaly to be above 0.5 °C.
The last El Niño, which peaked in the winter of 2015-2016, was the joint strongest event on record. It had impacts around the world and the heat released from it added to existing climate change to break global surface temperature records in 2015 and 2016.
Prof Adam Scaife, head of long-range…
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