Thursday February 8, 2024


The current El Niño is now one of the strongest on record, new data shows, catapulting it into rare “super El Niño” territory, but forecasters believe that La Niña is likely to develop in the coming months.

One of the main ways scientists determine whether El Niño is present, and a key indicator of its strength, is through ocean surface temperatures. And from November to January, the temperature of the tropical Pacific Ocean where El Niño originates was 2 degrees Celsius warmer than normal, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction center – a threshold that has only been breached six times on record. It means a very strong El Niño is ongoing.

But this so-called super El Niño’s strength won’t last long – it has reached its peak strength and is headed on a downward trend, said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist with the Climate Prediction Center.

“We’re slightly past peak [strength] at this point,” L’Heureux told CNN.

Forecasters believe the switch could get totally flipped to La Niña – cooler than average conditions in the eastern tropical Pacific – as soon as summer, but more likely by fall, and issued a La Niña watch on Thursday.

Read more >

Link copied successfully