Rare La Niña ‘triple dip’ won’t reverse global warming

Sea surface temperatures in December 2021, during an ongoing La Niña event. Nasa

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The stream the girl The event will extend into a third northern hemisphere winter, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced late last month.

It’s called a La Niña “triple dip,” and it’s the first time the phenomenon has occurred in the 21st century.

“It is exceptional to have three consecutive years with a La Niña event,” WMO Secretary General Professor Petteri Taalas said in the WMO announcement.

La Niña is part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) weather model, BBC Weather explained. The model describes both water temperature and wind direction in the Pacific Ocean. During periods of El Niño, the surface water temperature is warmer. However, during La Niña periods, strong the winds blowing hot water off the coast of South America to Indonesia, Australia and Asia, NPR explained. This pulls colder water from the depths and impacts weather patterns around the world.

It is rare for a La Niña to last three consecutive winters in the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, this only happened three times on record; the last two were from 1973 to 1975 and from 1998 to 2001, BBC News reported. The current La Nina began in September 2020, according to the WMO. The United Nations weather agency said there is a 70% chance it will last from September to November 2022 and a 55% chance it will last from December 2022 to February 2023. That said, the prolonged cooling trend is not up to the climate crisis. For example, the world’s oceans reached record high temperatures in 2021 despite the continuation of La Niña.

“Its cooling influence is temporarily slowing the rise in global temperatures – but it won’t halt or reverse the long-term warming trend,” Taalas said.

The La Niña triple trough is also expected to worsen some extreme weather events.

Worsening drought in the Horn of Africa and southern South America bear La Niña characteristics, as does above-average rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australasia,” Taalas said. “The new La Niña update unfortunately confirms regional climate projections that the devastating drought in the Horn of Africa will worsen and affect millions of people.”

The UN has said as many as 20 million people are at risk of extreme hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia due to ongoing drought, BBC News reported.

In the United States, La Niña winters tend to be cold and snowy in the northwest, dry in the south, warmer than average in the southeast and mid-Atlantic, and colder in New England, New York, and the Upper -Midwest, explained USA TODAY.

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Teresa H. Sadler