"A La Niña episode that spans three consecutive years is truly exceptional."

The Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Finn Petteri Taalas, warns of the unprecedented duration for this century of the current climatic phenomenon.

Responsible in particular for the aggravation of the drought in the Horn of Africa, La Niña should persist at least until the end of the year, the UN said on Wednesday.

This would be the first La Niña episode this century spanning three consecutive winters in the northern hemisphere (or three consecutive summers in the southern hemisphere), according to the new Info-Niño/Niña bulletin published by WMO , an agency of the United Nations.

If this were to be confirmed, it would only be the third time since 1950 that this phenomenon has been observed for three consecutive winters, according to the WMO.

The stubborn #LaNiña event is expected to last till at least the end of the year, impacting weather and climate.

It's this century's first “triple-dip“ La Niña - 3 straight N hemisphere winters/S hemisphere summers.

⤵️ WMO Update at https://t.co/lcrUUnjPOE#StateofClimate pic.twitter.com/Ouvg4cV90S

— World Meteorological Organization (@WMO) August 31, 2022

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The phenomenon would have exacerbated droughts and floods

The current La Niña episode, which began in September 2020, is expected to continue for the next six months: the probability of this forecast rises to 70% for the months of September to November, then gradually reduces to 55% for the period from December to February 2023.

La Niña, the cold equivalent of El Niño, causes a cooling of part of the surface waters of the Pacific, influencing the cycle of precipitation and the climate of certain regions of the globe.

According to the WMO, the current episode has been intensified by strengthening trade winds between mid-July and mid-August 2022, altering both temperature and rainfall patterns and exacerbating droughts and floods in different parts of the world.

A “devastating drought” in the Horn of Africa

"Intensifying drought in the Horn of Africa and southern South America bears the hallmark of La Niña, as does above-average rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australasia" , says Petteri Taalas.

“The latest information from the Bulletin unfortunately confirms regional climate projections that the devastating drought currently affecting the Horn of Africa will worsen and affect millions of people,” he adds.

The Horn of Africa, where the risk of famine is growing due to drought, is preparing for a 5th consecutive failed rainy season.

The El Niño and La Niña phenomena are determinants of the planet's climate system, but they are not the only ones.

The cooling caused by the La Niña phenomenon "temporarily slows the rise in global temperatures, but it will not have the effect of halting or reversing the warming trend in the long term", warns Petteri Taalas.


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