Heat, drought and wildfires: climate anomalies of two oceans may cause trouble in 2024

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
A historically strong climate event may occur on Earth in 2024

The combination of a strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and a strong temperature shift in the Indian Ocean could exacerbate heat and drought in Australia and Southeast Asia, thus leading to flooding in East Africa. Forecasts predicting the potential for a "historically strong" event raise concerns about the consequences around the world in 2024.

New Scientist writes about this with reference to researchers. In May 2023, the Pacific Ocean experienced a warm El Niño climate, preceded by three years of cold La Niña conditions. This change contributed to the unprecedented and record-breaking heat wave observed in 2023. At the same time, scientists suggest that El Niño will reach its peak strength in just a few months.

Forecasts suggest that we will experience a historically strong climate event in 2024.

"There are many factors that are conspiring to make it a strong event," said Pedro DiNezio of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

One such factor is the shift to cold temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean and warm temperatures in the west. This pattern is the positive phase of a cycle called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).

"It's kind of like El Niño's little brother," explained Kaustubh Thirumalai of the University of Arizona.

As with El Niño in the Pacific, when the IOD is positive, trade winds push warm water towards the western Indian Ocean, accumulating cold water in the east. This trend has a wide-ranging impact on the region's climate.

In September 2023, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced that a positive IOD is now being observed, which will last at least until the end of the year.

Scientists note that it is not unusual for El Niño and positive IOD dynamics to occur at the same time, but the combination of a strong El Niño and a strong positive IOD is a "rare" phenomenon.

According to climatologists, this combination has not occurred since the strong El Niño of 1997-1998, when IOD was first detected. That period cost the global economy trillions of dollars.

Both powerful events at the same time could amplify or offset each other's impact on the global climate in a complex way. But if this is good news for some regions, it will be bad news for others.

Typically, both a positive IOD and El Niño are associated with hotter and drier conditions in Southeast Asia and much of Australia.

"If these two events happen at the same time, it means that Australia is really in for some very dry and very warm temperatures," Thirumalai says.

Forest fires in Indonesia and heat waves in Southeast Asia are also possible, according to Thirumalai.

This could also lead to extreme flooding in East Africa.

The factor of uncertainty to all this is added by the fact that compared to 1997-1998, we have a hotter planet, and therefore, according to scientists, "this means that any associated rains and droughts may become more extreme."

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that 15,000 scientists declared the threat of civilizational collapse by 2100 due to the rapid change in the Earth's environment.

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