El Niño could cause 1.5°C warming for the first time in 2024
AdvertisementIf you've ever shared a common working space with someone, you know there's at least a 10-degree difference between setting the AC at 21°C and 24°C, even if science can't prove it. However, the effects of such excruciating-yet-minuscule change disappear once you leave the room — something that unfortunately cannot be said for global rising temperatures.
What's worse is that the sheer scale of damage that
If you aren't familiar with El Niño and La Niña, they're basically extremely large-scale weather patterns in the
We've been experiencing La Niña conditions for the past three years — something that is due to change very, very soon. And this is concerning because La Niñas are generally associated with a temporary cooling effect on temperatures. That's right… the last three years were supposed to be among the “cool ones”. Thank you, global warming!
Once the weather patterns oscillate back to El Niño that is associated with warmer patterns, you best believe that sweater days might have to take a temporary backseat in some parts of the world over the next few years.
For reference, the El Niño year of 2016 was the hottest year on record since 1850, and also the year where the Great Barrier Reef faced the largest die-off event... again fuelled by El Niño.
"I'm forecasting about a 15% chance of a new record in 2023," notes Gavin Schmidt, who directs the Goddard Institute for Space NASA, regarding record temperatures. "And if we're in an El Niño by the end of 2023, it's almost certainly a new record in 2024," he continues.
2023 stands to be relatively milder than 2024 because it takes some time for El Niño's effects to kick in. Luckily, there is only a 24% chance that 2024 will exceed the 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, with only a 3% chance that the mean of five years will continue to exceed this warming milestone.
But if you're going, 'pfft, I have an AC, and this can't faze me!', here are the statistics for your ironically cold-blooded heart: rising sea levels would put 69 million people (almost 10% of the global population) in constant exposure of deadly catastrophes such as torrential flooding in coastal areas. With a further increase to 2°C, we could lose all the coral reefs in the world, while 13% of the earth's flora and fauna could be irreversibly affected.
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