Expect extreme weather around the world over the coming year.

The World Meteorological Organization is forecasting a 75-80% chance that the El Niño weather pattern will form in the Eastern Pacific Ocean over the next two-three months.

When it occurs, this weather phenomenon usually has a range of impacts on weather systems across the globe.

What is El Niño?

El Niño refers to a band of warm water that develops off the coast of South America as part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation.

It often appears around Christmas time and the energy released by the warmer water has a powerful effect on atmospheric circulation.

What does it mean for world weather?

Aidan McGivern, a senior weather presenter at the UK Met Office explains that the phenomenon can alter weather patterns across the globe.

“El Niño can lead to changes in seasonal weather and climate around the world, particularly in places such as Australia, Indonesia and the Americas.”

“Every El Niño is different but it can sometimes result in extremes such as heavy rainfall, flooding, landslides, drought and wildfires.”

Global warming?

McGivern further warns that El Niño can have an impact on global temperature:

“Whilst the world is warming due to human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, El Niño events also have a delayed effect on global warming.”

With higher temperatures come greater risks.

“In a warmer world, we are more likely to experience extreme weather.”

What impact will it have?

The disasters mentioned above will pose a serious concern. Extreme weather and climate change is also likely going to have an increased impact on world politics.

Both Australia and Indonesia are holding elections in 2019. The political agenda could be increasingly dominated by issues such as disaster resilience and climate change, especially if people, agriculture and economics are affected by this year’s weather patterns.

What can you do?

Travellers should be prepared for disasters, transport chaos, flight cancellations and other weather-related issues this year.

Keep up to date with the latest forecasts, make sure you have proper insurance and keep your plans flexible if you can.

In particular, keep an eye out for any further reports on El Niño in the coming weeks.

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More Disasters in 2019?
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