This years monster El Nino is gathering strength in the Pacific.
Sea surface temperature rising in the ocean indicate that a record breaking El Nino event is gathering strength. It could have devastating consequences for some time to come, even if it weakens as it soon should.
This year has also been the hottest year on record and the developing El Nino is just making matters worse.
Last month was the hottest October in 136 years of data, according to U.S. figures released Wednesday, making it the eighth record-breaking month so far in this record-breaking year. This week the El Nino weather pattern started setting records of its own, with some of the warmest weekly temperatures ever seen across swaths of the equatorial Pacific.
El Nino has already triggered powerful typhoons, spoiled cocoa harvests in Africa, and contributed to vast fires in Indonesia. The effects are just getting started, and this El Nino may carry on through late spring or early summer, according to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. The heat that’s dispersed into the atmosphere during an El Nino can linger, which means 2016 could be yet another record-hot year worldwide.
Every El Nino is unique, and this year isn’t yet considered the worst. By most measures, that title is held by 1997-98, which recorded the highest sustained temperatures over a three-month period.1 If current conditions persist, 2015 could exceed that.
Last month wasn’t just the hottest October on record—it was the biggest departure from normal for any month in the past 136 years, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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