El Nino conditions, which peaked during October-November 2023, are likely to turn neutral during April-June 2024, three global weather agencies have said.

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC), an arm of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in its latest outlook, said: “In October and November 2023, SST anomalies increased in the central and east-central Pacific. Since early December, the positive SST anomalies have persisted. In the far-eastern Pacific, positive SST anomalies have been gradually weakening.” 

CPC, in alliance with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), said there is a 73 per cent chance of the conditions turning neutral during April-June. Chances of a gradual decrease are possible from the winter through the spring.

Weakening indicators

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said some atmospheric indicators have weakened over the past three weeks. The southern oscillation index, a key atmospheric indices for gauging the strength of El Nino and La Nina events and their potential impacts on the Australian region, is currently neutral. 

The European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said the El Nino event is currently close to “peak amplitude”. It is predicted to weaken over the next six months. The probabilities of El Nino, neutral or La Nina at the end of the forecast period are close to climatological values in the C3S multi-system combination.

The CPC said during the past four weeks, negative changes in equatorial sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were observed in the central and far-eastern Pacific Ocean, while positive changes were evident over the western Pacific Ocean.

IOD weakening

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said model forecasts indicate the warmth of SSTs is likely at or near its peak, with SSTs expected to remain above El Niño thresholds into the southern hemisphere autumn 2024. 

On the other hand, it said the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event is weakening steadily. “Model forecasts suggest the positive IOD is likely to continue to ease over the coming weeks, with the majority indicating the IOD index will fall below +0.4 °C in January,” it said.

El Nino, which set in June 2023, has resulted in global temperature breaking numerous records. According to Copernicus, the European weather agency, the January-March 2024 period will continue to see the warm trend continuing. 

The World Meteorological Organization — a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in atmospheric science and meteorology — said in view of the El Nino global temperatures in every month between June and December set new monthly records. July and August were the two hottest months on record.

2024 even hotter?

“Given that El Nino usually has the biggest impact on global temperatures after it peaks, 2024 could be even hotter,” said WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo.

El Nino affected India as the South-West monsoon turned to be deficient. In turn, the kharif crops’ production dropped three per cent. August, in particular, turned out to be the driest in 120 years, while October was the second warmest after 2016. 

With post-monsoon rains turning deficient, rabi sowing has also been affected with paddy and pulses bearing the brunt.