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El Nino 'to turn up global heat' warning

China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-07-11 09:27

People swim in a pool on a hot summer day in Lahore, Pakistan, on June 4. Global warming is exacerbating adverse weather, with temperatures hitting records across Southeast and South Asia in recent months. ARIF ALI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The world has just endured the hottest few days and the hottest June on record, say experts from the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, and the temperature is expected to rise further because of the developing El Nino weather pattern.

Addressing a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, the panel said that the first week of July has seen the earth's daily average temperature reach a new high.

On July 7, the average planetary temperature hit 17.24 degrees Celsius, according to provisional reanalysis data from the Japan Meteorological Agency, beating the previous record temperature set on July 4.

While this data has not yet been confirmed, a WMO media release said it is consistent with the preliminary data from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, a close collaborator with the WMO.

The June 2023 average temperature was over 0.5 degrees Celsius above the average for the years 1991-2020, the Copernicus Service reported, smashing the previous record of June 2019.

Last Friday could be the hottest recorded day in history, when sea surface temperatures reached unprecedented levels. Experts warn that more extreme heat is on its way as the El Nino event is still in the early stages of development.

El Nino is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which triggers a surge in global temperatures.

"Despite the fact that El Nino hasn't really got going yet, we can expect high temperatures from the El Nino in the latter half of the year into October and November time," Michael Sparrow, chief of the World Climate Research Programme, told journalists.

Omar Baddour, chief of climate monitoring at the WMO, added that the warmest conditions of the year are yet to come.

"The El Nino year is actually between 2023 and 2024, where we expect the El Nino will peak up," he said. "If there is an expectation of whether we'll reach a record, that is a question likely to happen in 2024 if the strength of El Nino is going in the way that is predicted correctly."

Zheng Wanyin contributed to this story.

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