NEW DELHI :
The next three months are going to be warmer than usual across large parts of the world, though El Niño, the global ocean phenomenon, has turned neutral, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by above normal sea-surface temperatures over the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. It typically has a warming influence on global temperatures and is associated with hazards, such as heavy rain, floods and drought. In India, it influences the southwest monsoon and is linked with less than normal rainfall.
El Niño was at borderline to weak levels since October 2018, but turned neutral in July. This helped the southwest monsoon gain strength.
However, the effects of El Niño will still be felt. Average land surface temperatures across large parts of the world will most likely be above normal in September-November, despite the absence of a full-blown El Niño event, the WMO said in its latest forecast on Monday.
This will be felt more in tropical latitudes—parts of Asia, including India.
According to WMO scientists, the periodic variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, during the so-called neutral months of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), affect the climate of much of the tropics and subtropics. And, in recent times, air and sea surface temperatures and ocean heat have increased because of climate change. “With more than 90% of the energy trapped by greenhouse gases going into the ocean, ocean heat content reached record levels in 2018," the intergovernmental organisation said.
This is a matter of concern, as July was the hottest month on record and warming has been leading to a rise in extreme weather events even without a strong El Niño. “The signal from human-induced climate change has now become more powerful than that from major natural force of nature," said Maxx Dilley, director of WMO’s climate adaptation and prediction branch. “These expected anomalies, if they materialize, will have human impacts."
Above average temperatures for the sea surface may prevail till early 2020, but within the ENSO-neutral levels, according to WMO. The chance of neutral conditions prevailing in September-November is estimated at 60%, while chances for El Niño and La Niña, the cooling of the water in the equatorial Pacific, are about 30% and 10%, respectively.