La Niña is an event that brings cooler temperatures to the world’s oceans – and the world has been experiencing one of these periods for the last three years.
Despite this, the last eight years have been the hottest on record, which has led to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) fearing the impact of the upcoming El Niño.
In contrast to its cooler sister, El Niño brings warm weather and raises the temperature of the oceans and is now on the horizon after the end of the La Niña spell.
Secretary-General at the WMO, Petteri Taalas, explained that the last three years were “a temporary brake on global temperature increases” but now there will be “a new spike in global heating and [more] chance of breaking temperature records.”
The last impact of the El Niño was seen in 2016; its combination with greenhouse gas emissions made the year the warmest ever recorded.
Professor Taalas warns the world “should prepare” for that record to be smashed in 2024 – with the high possibility of more extreme drought, wildfires and flooding across the world.
Warnings have already been sent out to the countries and areas that will be heavily impacted, so they can prepare beforehand.
Acting early will mitigate, at least to some extent, the crippling impacts that this extreme heat will have on the globe, the WMO stressed.