This month, the ocean experienced rapid warming, with the global sea surface registering a new high temperature. This phenomenon is alarming scientists, as they do not fully understand why this is happening and have never seen such a large and rapid warming. Furthermore, the combination of this phenomenon with other meteorological phenomena could lead to an alarming rise in global temperature by the end of next year. Moreover, experts believe that, in the coming months, a strong El Niño weather phenomenon, a weather system that warms the ocean, is also expected to take hold.
A recently published study by Karina Von Schuckmann and her team makes the worrying development of the Earth’s warming evident. This study says that in the last 15 years, the Earth has accumulated as much heat as in the previous 45 years, with much of this extra energy being captured by the oceans.
El Niño: How does it affect the global climate?
Another important factor that is worrying scientists is the meteorological phenomenon known as El Niño. For the past three years, this natural phenomenon has been in a cooler phase, called La Niña, and has helped keep global temperatures in check. However, researchers now believe that a strong El Niño is forming that will have significant implications for the world.
El Niño will likely disrupt weather patterns around the world, weaken the monsoon, and threaten more forest fires in Australia. In addition, as more heat enters the ocean, the waters may be less able to store excess energy, and there are concerns that the heat contained in the oceans won’t stay there. Some studies have shown that the world is warming in jumps, where little changes over a period of years and then there are sudden jumps upwards, like rungs on a ladder, closely linked to the development of El Niño. However, expectations are more hopeful in some experts’ view. According to Karina Von Schuckmann, there is some hope in this scenario. Temperatures may go back down after El Niño disappears.
BBC News (2023). Recent, rapid ocean warming ahead of El Niño alarms scientists. URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-65339934 [Accessed April 2023]