Governments are urged to brace for extreme weather and soaring temperatures as El Niño makes a menacing comeback, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The climate phenomenon, known for its devastating impacts, has been officially declared, prompting WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas to issue a chilling warning.
With El Niño’s warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures, global weather patterns will be significantly influenced, affecting billions of people worldwide. The onset of El Niño will escalate the probability of shattering temperature records and triggering extreme heat waves, unleashing havoc on numerous regions, both on land and in the ocean.
Taalas emphasized that this declaration serves as an urgent signal for governments to mobilize preparations and implement measures to mitigate the potential impacts on health, ecosystems, and economies. Early warning systems and proactive strategies must be established to save lives and livelihoods from the imminent onslaught of disruptive weather events expected this year.
The past three years have already witnessed some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded, even during El Niño’s cooler counterpart, La Niña. In 2016, an alarming combination of a powerful El Niño and human-induced climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels resulted in the hottest year on record, a dire “double whammy” scenario.