El Niño 95% Likely to Continue Through March 2024: Climate Prediction Center
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, has issued an El Niño Advisory that predicts an over 95% chance that the El Niño climate pattern will continue through winter to March 2024.
“In August, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were above average across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, with strengthening in the central and east-central Pacific,” CPC said in a statement.
In its notice, the CPC said that the likelihood of a “strong” El Niño is now 71%, although it explained that a stronger El Niño doesn’t always lead to strong local impacts. However, this climate pattern can impact different regions in varying ways.
“As El Niño strengthens to strong status, there is a good likelihood it will have an impact on the upcoming growing season for the southern hemisphere crop production areas,” Chris Hyde, a meteorologist at Maxar, a space-technology company, told Reuters. “This includes crops in South Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and Brazil where the weather is typically drier and warmer than normal.”
During an El Niño event, trade winds are weaker, and warmer water moves east toward the Pacific Coast of the U.S. This typically causes warmer, drier conditions in the northern U.S. and Canada and wetter conditions in the southern U.S., NOAA explained. However, no two El Niño events are the same, and they can bring different impacts around the world.
El Niño events usually happen every 2 to 7 years and last for 9 to 12 months. As The Weather Channel reported in June 2023, the current El Niño episode arrived earlier this year, and at the time had a 56% chance of becoming a strong El Niño event.
By July, the World Meteorological Organization warned that this year’s El Niño may lead to record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather. The last strong El Niño event happened in 2016, the hottest year on record.
The WMO previously predicted El Niño had a 90% chance of continuing with at least moderate strength through the end of this year.
The average sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean has been higher than usual for August and up from July, when the global sea surface temperature average reached a record high. “The global climate models we rely on are pretty certain that the currently observed warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures will last and even strengthen through winter 2023–24,” wrote Tom Di Liberto, writer for Climate.gov. “After which, this El Niño event is expected to weaken, which is normal for these types of events.”