Above-Average Heat, Drought-Fueled Fire Risk On Tap for 2020
Despite the absence of El Niño conditions this year, many parts of the world will still see above-average temperatures through 2020—proof that climate change caused by human activity is now as powerful as El Niño itself, says the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The WMO is forecasting “above-average sea surface temperatures in many parts of the world, which will lead to higher than normal land temperatures,” reports the Guardian. The effect will be the same as in years that experience the El Niño southern oscillation, “a naturally occurring phenomenon in the Pacific with a warming influence on global temperatures” that is linked with “heavy rain, flooding and drought”—even though El Niño is not expected to make an appearance this year.
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
“We have just had the warmest January on record,” WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas told the Guardian. “The signal from human-induced climate change is now as powerful as that from a major natural force of nature.”
Bloomberg Green notes that “abnormal drought conditions in southeast Asia, southern Africa, central America, the Caribbean, Oceania and western Australia between November and January are expected to persist,” with corresponding risks of wildfire.
That eastern Australia, its summer apocalypse of bushfires only just ended, is not on the WMO’s current watch list may be some small comfort to the winemakers of that region’s Hunter Valley, where the 2019 harvest has been largely destroyed by smoke, reports the New York Times.