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El Nino to last until April 2024; WMO

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the ongoing El Nino weather pattern is set to last until at least April 2024.

The ongoing El Nino weather pattern is set to last until at least April 2024, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday, pushing up temperatures in a year already on track to be the warmest on record.

The WMO said there was a 90% likelihood that the naturally occurring event will continue through the northern hemisphere winter, following a similar projection last month from a US government forecaster.

El Nino is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific, and it can provoke extreme weather phenomena from wildfires to tropical cyclones and prolonged droughts.

The phenomenon is already spurring calamities across the globe, with the stakes expected to be higher for emerging markets more exposed to swings in food and energy prices.

The WMO said in the same statement that 2023 is on track to be the warmest year on record. 

The previous record year was in 2016 due to the one-two punch of an exceptionally strong, naturally-occurring El Nino and the impact of warming induced by the burning of fossil fuels.

As a result of record high land and sea-surface temperatures since June, the year 2023 is now on track to be the warmest year on record,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said in the statement, warning that “next year maybe even warmer”.

“This is clearly and unequivocally due to the contribution of the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities,” he said.

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“Extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, wildfires, heavy rain, and floods will be enhanced in some regions, with major impacts,” he cautioned, stressing the importance of efficient early warning systems.

WMO said the most recent forecasts for the current El Nino impact suggest a high likelihood of continued warming in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific through next April.

Above-normal sea-surface temperatures are also expected across most of the global oceans, while above-normal temperatures are expected, too, over almost all land areas, it said.

Other impacts are likely to include above-normal rainfall in the Horn of Africa region and the La Plata basin in South America and in southeastern North America, as well as in parts of central and eastern Asia.

The north of South America, much of Australia, and the Pacific islands are meanwhile set to see less rain, according to the predictions.

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