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El Niño leaves with its heat and La Niña arrives, which could begin a cooling period

Some experts say La Niña could provide temporary relief to the current warming trend

Recomendaciones para hacer frente al calor intenso
Recomendaciones para hacer frente al calor intenso | Shutterstock / imagen de referencia

June 13, 2024 11:37pm

Updated: June 14, 2024 10:10am

Scientists have confirmed that the year-long El Niño phenomenon, which caused a significant rise in global temperatures, is ending. With its disappearance, a cooling period is expected to begin due to the opposite phenomenon, La Niña, according to The Washington Post.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the warming of the surface waters of the Pacific Ocean, which alters global climate patterns. Over the past year, temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific have risen up to 2 degrees Celsius above normal, triggering a series of extreme weather events in various parts of the world.

This warming not only impacts the immediate climate, but also has long-term effects on the global ecosystem.

Last year El Niño caused extreme heat waves, droughts and floods in several regions. These events demonstrate the significant influence El Niño can have across the globe.

With the disappearance of El Niño, scientists predict the arrival of La Niña, a phenomenon that cools the waters of the Pacific and often has opposite effects on the global climate.

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, there is a two-thirds chance that La Niña will develop between July and September. This change could bring wetter conditions to Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and drought to the southern United States.

One of the most significant effects of La Niña is the intensification of the Atlantic hurricane season. La Niña reduces wind shear, making it easier for tropical storms to form and strengthen.

NOAA meteorologists (National Oceanic Atmospheric Association) have already warned that this year's hurricane season could be one of the most active on record due to the influence of La Niña.

“NOAA’s outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which spans from June 1 to November 30, predicts an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season,” a May 23 report says.

“NOAA is forecasting a range of 17 to 25 total named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher). Of those, 8 to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 4 to 7 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). Forecasters have a 70% confidence in these ranges.”

La Niña could provide a temporary respite from the global warming trend, but global temperatures could continue to break records, suggesting there are factors at play that scientists do not yet fully understand.

Experts believe that the end of El Niño and the possible arrival of La Niña represent a natural cycle of climate change.