David J. Philip/AP
Warmer weather is forecast for much of the United States in the coming months, federal meteorologists warn, prompted by a combination of human-caused climate change and the El Niño climate model.
El Niño is a cyclical climatic phenomenon that brings warm water to the equatorial Pacific Ocean and leads to higher average global temperatures. El Niño started in June. Today, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials announced that El Niño will continue through March 2024.
« We expect El Niño to continue at least through the Northern Hemisphere winter. There’s a 90 percent or higher probability, » says NOAA meteorologist Matthew Rosencrans.
El Niño exacerbates warm temperatures driven by human-caused climate change and makes it more likely that heat records will be broken around the world. In fact, the first six months of 2023 have been extremely hot, NOAA data shows. « Only the January through June periods of 2016 and 2020 were warmer, » says Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, a climate scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
June 2023 was the hottest June on record on Earth, dating back to 1850.
Record-breaking heat has gripped the southern US for more than a month. Nearly 400 daily maximum temperature records fell in the South in June and the first half of July, most of them in Texas, according to new NOAA preliminary data.
« Most of Texas and about half of Oklahoma have reached triple digits, as have portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi, » says John Nielsen-Gammon, director of NOAA’s Southern Regional Climate Center. « El Paso is now 34 days — consecutive days — above 100 degrees [Fahrenheit]and counting. »
And the heat should continue. Forecasters are predicting warmer-than-average temperatures for much of the country over the next three months.
It all adds up to another dangerously hot summer. 2023 has a more than 90% chance of ranking among the 5 warmest years on record, says Sánchez-Lugo. The past eight years have been the warmest on record.