The next calendar year could be the hottest one in recorded human history, scientists are warning.
An El Niño event combined with the effects of climate change have drastically increased the odds that 2019 will be the hottest year in recorded human history, scientists warn.
There is an 80 percent chance a full-fledged El Niño has already begun and will last until at least the end of February 2019, according to the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
El Niño is a warming of the ocean, over a few months, in an area along the equator from west coast South America, towards the central Pacific Ocean.
The impacts of El Niño have been more severe in recent years because of global warming, and these impacts will be worse as temperatures continue to rise, according to a recent study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
“With an El Niño, it’s entirely possible 2019 will be the hottest year ever,” Samantha Stevenson, a climate scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and co-author of the study told National Geographic.
The top four hottest years have been among the last four, 2015-2018, driven by increased emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
“Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine life,’’ said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova.