The Northern hemisphere is likely to witness a “strong” El Nino from March-May 2024 with a 1 in 3 chance that the weather event could be “historically strong” (Super El Nino), according to the latest prediction by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate prediction centre.
El Nino — warming of waters in the Pacific Ocean near South America — profoundly influences extreme weather events around the world, with far-reaching consequences for food production, water availability, and the wellbeing of both people and ecosystems.
The chances of a strong El Nino next year is between 75%-80%, which means equatorial sea surface temperatures will be at least 1.5°C warmer than average.
There is also a 30% chance that temperatures may rise by over 2°C and become “historically strong”, like in 1997-98 and 2015-16 when extreme temperatures, droughts and flooding wreaked havoc across the globe.
In northern America, a strong El Nino is typically associated with dryer and warmer-than-average conditions. It also means parts of the southern US usually see wetter weather and temperatures somewhat below-average in winter.
In India, El Nino is generally associated with weakening Monsoon winds and dry weather, which can lead to reduced rainfall during the monsoon season.
Super El Niño can disrupt typical weather patterns in India, leading to unusual and sometimes extreme weather events. These can include heavy rainfall and flooding in some areas and extended dry spells in others.
The weather event seems to have less impact in southern India compared to the north.
Historically, at least half of the El Nino years caused droughts during Monsoon, with the all-India rainfall being lower than 90% of the long-period average.
The weather event is highly dependent on oceanic and atmospheric conditions, and the NOAA has said it will update its predictions in November as per latest data.