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El Niño chances jump to 80%: Add in global warming and we face record heat

Published on 21 May 2014 Global

Chart of global temperature since 1950, also showing the phase of the El Niño-La Niña cycle. Via NASA.

The chances of an El Niño developing this year are now at almost 4 out of 5. The chart above from NASA makes clear El Niños are generally the hottest years on record — since the regional warming adds to the underlying man-made global trend.

The chart below is the consensus forecast for the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society:

If this El Niño does start fairly quickly and become quite strong, as many currently expect, then 2014 could well become the hottest year on record, and 2015 would likely break all previous global records.

Australian climate expert Dr. Wenju Cai says the ocean data suggest this will become one of the strongest El Niños in decades. If so, then in addition to record temperatures, we can expect off-the-charts extreme weather. As the U.K. Royal Society and Met Office explained a few years ago, “We expect some of the most significant impacts of climate change to occur when natural variability is exacerbated by long-term global warming.”

Source: Climate Progress | 8 May 2014