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El Nino is fast approaching. The chance of stopping global warming at 1.5 degrees is slim

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The temperature of the seas and oceans reached a record high of 21.1 degrees Celsius in April this year. This proves that the climate is getting warmer all the time. Scientists fear that El Nino – a weather anomaly in the Pacific – will probably cause the average global temperature to rise by another 0.2-0.25 degrees. We will therefore exceed the threshold of 1.5 degrees of global warming.

Over the last 15 years, the Earth has stored almost as much heat as it did in the previous 45 years, with most of this ‘extra’ energy going to the oceans, an international team of researchers has found. This caused the average global surface temperature of the seas and oceans to reach a new record high of 21.1 degrees Celsius in April this year. According to experts, water bodies have never warmed so much and in such a short time. The article on this topic was published on April 17, 2023 in the journal “Earth System Science Data”.

Seas and oceans are warming up a lot

In March, the average surface temperature of the waters off the eastern coast of North America was as much as 13.8 degrees Celsius higher than the 1981-2011 average.

“It’s not yet been determined why such a rapid and massive change is taking place,” said Karina Von Schuckmann, lead author of the new study and an oceanographer at Mercator Ocean International. – We’ve doubled the heat in the climate system in the last 15 years, I don’t want to say it’s climate change or natural variability or a mix of both, we don’t know that yet. But we see the change, she added.

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Global warmingPAP/Maciej Zielinski

La Nina ends her reign

The factor that worries scientists is the El Nino weather anomaly. This phenomenon occurs in the Pacific Ocean and causes the surface water temperature to rise. For three years, the La Nin weather anomaly prevailed in the Pacific Oceana. The temperature of the surface waters of the Pacific was lower than average, affecting atmospheric circulation and shaping the weather in many regions of the world. However, in 2023, the phenomenon began to wane until meteorologists announced its end. Experts fear that an emerging strong El Niño will have significant consequences for the world.

“All climate models indicate that the phenomenon is going to be strong,” said Hugh McDowell of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. This phenomenon may cause the average air temperature in the world to increase even more. “If there is a strong El Niño, the global average temperature is likely to rise another 0.2-0.25 degrees,” said Josef Ludescher of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. “2024 will probably be the warmest year on record,” he added.

El Niño will disrupt weather patterns around the world – weaken monsoons, could trigger massive fires.

The average global surface temperature of the seas and oceans has increased by about 0.9 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Over the past 40 years, this increase has been as much as 0.6 degrees Celsius. This is less than the increase in the average air temperature over land, which has increased by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. This is because to warm water much more energy is needed than to warm the land.

Global warming Adam Ziemienowicz/PAP

Pollution from shipping

Another factor that may affect the amount of heat reaching the oceans is the reduction in pollution from shipping.

In 2020, the International Maritime Organization introduced regulations to reduce the sulfur content of fuel burned by ships. This had a quick effect, reducing the amount of aerosol particles released into the atmosphere. But the aerosols that pollute the air also help reflect heat back into space. Removing them may have allowed more heat to enter the waters.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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