Extreme weather from El Niño "on all continents" likely to continue for months

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El Niño threat puts world in “unchartered territory”. File Photo: UNOCHA

The natural climate phenomenon known as El Niño has peaked, but its impact is still likely to be devastating in coming months around the world, UN weather experts warned on Thursday.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the warmer ocean temperatures associated with El Niño have already caused extreme weather "on all continents" and helped fuel record global temperature highs in 2015.

This pattern is set to continue, WMO says, with drought increasingly likely.

Matthew Wells has more.

There are torrential rains and flooding in South America and East Africa, wildfires in Indonesia, and now, growing signs of terrible drought in the south and east of the African continent, central America and elsewhere.

One of the main reasons for this extreme weather is El Niño, the natural climate phenomenon that's characterised by hotter than average ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

And while this El Niño episode has now peaked, as it usually does by around December, it looks like it is still having an effect on slow-to-develop natural disasters.

Here's Clare Nullis from the UN weather agency, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO):

"The impact on temperature and on the humanitarian situation in terms of drought, they will continue for months to come."

According to the World Meteorological Organization, the current El Niño is one of the strongest on record.

It's too soon to say whether it's the strongest, but WMO believes that it's on a par with El Niños in 1997 and 1982, which caused havoc at the time.

And although the world has never been better prepared to counter the effects of this climatic phenomenon, its intensity and scale this time round have given particular cause for concern.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

Filed under Today's News.
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