Strong El Niño expected to drive record-breaking global surface temperatures and trigger climate crises in 2023–2024

According to scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), a powerful El Niño event in 2023–2024 will devastate the world's surface temperature and spark many climate disasters.

The El Niño event, which is renowned for generating enormous amounts of heat in the atmosphere, has the potential to alter atmospheric circulation patterns, impact subtropical jets, monsoons, and even polar vortices. Ultimately, it could lead to a sharp increase in the global mean surface temperature (GMST).

On September 15, the work was published in The Innovation Geoscience.

Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is a crucial measure of climatic variability and global warming, as it combines data from both land and sea surface temperatures. ENSO events are the main cause of its interannual variability; El Niño events have the most impact since they may release a great deal of heat into the atmosphere, which can cause anomalies in atmospheric circulation and modifications to the surface energy balance.

According to the IAP's ensemble prediction algorithm, an El Niño event is expected to occur in the boreal fall of 2023 and might last into the winter.

Drawing from past research and historical climate data, the IAP team delineated the possible scope and ramifications of the high warming anticipated in 2023–2024. According to their research, there is a 17% chance that the GMST in 2023 will be the highest since 1950, and an astounding 61% chance that it will be in the top three. These odds abruptly increase to 56% and 79%, respectively, in 2024.

Warm anomalies are predicted to mostly impact Alaska, the Eurasian continent, and the tropical central-eastern Pacific during the emergence of a severe El Niño in 2023. But by 2024, warm anomalies are expected to cover the whole continent, greatly raising the likelihood of heat waves, droughts, and wildfires on land.

Prof. Zheng Fei, the study's corresponding author, states that "a cascade of climate crises is predicted to be triggered by the strong El Niño in 2023-2024, in addition to the surge in surface temperatures." Sea level rise, agricultural yield decrease, deoxygenation of the ocean, loss of oceanic variety, harm to marine ecosystems, and amplification of marine heat waves are a few of these.

Moreover, China could experience several climate abnormalities at this time. For example, in 2023, the reduced winter monsoon may raise winter temperatures in most of China and raise the likelihood of air pollution. In 2024, there's a chance of a spring drought in northern China, while the southern parts will probably have to deal with summer flooding and excessive rains.