The chances of the La Niña weather phenomenon occurring this year are increasing, which increases the risk of hurricanes in the Atlantic and droughts in California and South America.
There is a 55% chance that the La Niña phenomenon will develop between June and August, a cooling of the equatorial Pacifichim, as a strong El Niño fades that is currently altering the climate around the world, the US Climate Prediction Center said Thursday.
“I think we’re potentially in for a pretty quick transition.”said Michelle L’Heureux, a meteorologist with the agency.
La Niña threatens to unleash powerful hurricanes because it reduces wind shear, that is, winds that blow with different strength or direction at different altitudes.s. It can also divert rain from the western US and agricultural regions of Argentina and Brazil, causing droughts.
While around 60% of strong El Niño events have been followed by La NiñaL’Heureux said no one should count on that change happening in 2024 yet because projections made before March are not as accurate as those made at other times of the year.
According to L’Heureux, the surface of the Pacific is still quite warmwhich means that El Niño remains. But below 100 meters, he explains, the ocean is cooling, a sign that things are changing.