A whale gulps anchovies next to a fisherman in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on July 6, 2016, during the last El Nino. The World Meteorological Association declared Tuesday that a new El Nino has officially begun. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
July 4 (UPI) -- A climate-heating El Nino weather pattern has officially begun, the World Meteorological Organization announced Tuesday, predicting it will trigger extreme weather events around the globe.
In 2016, the date of the last El Nino, high temperatures set records as the weather phenomenon drove global warming along with heat-trapping carbon emissions. WMO officials said Tuesday those two factors will likely again "supercharge" extreme weather conditions globally as the new El Nino gets underway.
The organization said there is a 90% probability that El Nino will continue through the end of the year.
"The onset of El Nino will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.
"The declaration of an El Nino by WMO is the signal to governments around the world to mobilize preparations to limit the impacts on our health, our ecosystems and our economies."
Taalas said early warnings and anticipatory action of extreme weather events associated with El Nino will be vital to saving lives.
The pattern occurs on average every two to seven years, lasting from nine to 12 months. It is a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with the warming of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
"This is not to say that in the next five years, we would exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius level specified in the Paris Agreement because that agreement refers to long-term warming over many years," WMO Director of Climate Services Chris Hewitt said.
"However, it is yet another wake-up call, or an early warning, that we are not yet going in the right direction to limit the warming to within the targets set in Paris in 2015 designed to substantially reduce the impacts of climate change."