‘El Niño and extreme heat to return in 2023’

The year could be one of the hottest ever recorded, scientists warn

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El Niño is expected to return this year, which could make 2023 one of the hottest years on record.

That’s according to scientists who explained that the hottest year recorded to date was 2016 – the last time that a massive El Niño took charge.

El Niño is where the ocean surface warms above average temperatures, which sees the rest of the world get hotter.

Recent years have been dominated by La Niña, which is its cooler equivalent, and this has helped somewhat control temperatures – but without the cooler presence, temperatures are set to rocket.

The Met Office has revealed that El Niño happens in winter at the northern hemisphere, which can mean the impacts can take a while to be felt: 2024 could be even hotter than this year and set a potential all-time record.

Professor Adam Scaife from the Met Office said: “The probability of having the first year at 1.5°C in the next five-year period is now about 50:50. The impacts of El Niño events are going to get stronger, and you have to add that to the effects of climate change itself, which is growing all the time.

“You put those two things together and we are likely to see unprecedented heatwaves during the next El Niño.”

To what level the weather event will see temperatures jump is under debate between scientists and research bodies – but all agree conclusively that this year and the next are set to be some of the hottest ever.

Professor Scaife added that Australia, Indonesia and other nations near the west Pacific will be likely to experience “lots of droughts and wildfires.”

The precise impact of global warming from the climate event will not be clear until May or June, the researchers state.