Home » World News » NASA’s watching ‘intensifying’ deadly El Niño storm set to strike next month
NASA’s watching ‘intensifying’ deadly El Niño storm set to strike next month
October 19, 2023
The feared El Niño storm weather system could strike land for the first time this year in just a matter of weeks.
NASA boffins are monitoring the storm, generally associated with record-breaking warm temperatures worldwide, as it intensifies. El Niño (meaning 'the boy') and its cold counterpart La Niña (meaning 'the girl') are the two periods that make up the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO).
According to the Met Office: "An El Niño is declared when sea temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise 0.5C above the long-term average. The conditions for declaring 'La Niña' differ between different agencies, but during an event sea temperatures can often fall 3-5C below average."
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially declared El Niño was underway on June 8 this year, with La Nina being spotted for the first time earlier this month – and NASA has been monitoring it ever since. They are expecting it to make landfall in late November or early December, and are also claiming that it “may still intensify” before doing so – although, for clarity, NASA refers to the overall weather system as El Nino, not the individual names.
“Every El Niño is a little bit different,” said Josh Willis, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “This one seems modest compared to the big events, but it could still give us a wet winter here in the Southwest United States if conditions are right. This year, sea levels are about two or three inches higher than average and over a smaller area compared to the 1997 and 2015 events.
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“Both of the past El Niños reached peak strength in late November or early December, so this year’s event may still intensify.” It has not been confirmed when exactly the horror weather system will hit the UK, although it does normally hit at the end of Winter, giving us one final blast of close, frost air and rain before disappearing for another year.
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