July was the hottest month ever recorded globally
But a possible La Nina pattern could global slow temperature rises
July was the world’s hottest month ever, according to NASA, the tenth month in a row to break temperature records globally.
But help may be on the way in the form of a developing La Nina weather pattern – it just may not arrive until 2017.
On Tuesday, NASA confirmed in a statement 2016 had seen the warmest July ever, with air and sea surface temperatures almost a full degree above average, compared to measurements between 1951 and 1980.
Since October 2015, every month has set a new global record for hottest temperatures.
it coincides with an unusually strong El Nino pattern which has caused severe heat and drought across Southeast Asia, as well as raising temperatures globally.
“It appears almost a certainty that 2016 also will be the warmest year on record,” NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies director Gavin Schmidt said in a statement.
La Nina could slow temperatures, eventually
Within the past week, the United State government’s Climate Prediction Center said there was a 55% to 60% chance of a La Nina weather pattern developing in the second half of the year.
A La Nina weather event occurs when waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean are cooler than usual, a reverse of the El Nino pattern which sees warmer oceans.
It is the cool phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern and usually, but not always, follows after an El Nino.
Agus Santoso, senior research associate at the University of New South Wales’ Climate Change Research Centre, said a weak La Nina appeared to be developing and could begin to affect temperatures from early 2017.
“Countries on the Eastern Pacific will be cooler and the Western Pacific will be warmer and wetter, so over South America, even California, it’s going to be slightly drier and cooler … on the other side of the Pacific, Indonesia, Malaysia, it’s going to get more moisture, more precipitation and warmer air,” he said.
According to the Climate Prediction Center, the conditions indicated a La Nina was most likely to arrive during fall and winter in the northern hemisphere.
The surge in global temperatures, driven by climate change and a strong El Nino, could begin to slow under a La Nina pattern, Santoso said, but not completely and not until next year.
“When we have an El Nino it’s going to rise (and) if it’s La Nina the rise will be weaker … but given the background warming has been accelerating we will still see an increase in temperature but it won’t be as rapid as what we’re seeing in 2015,” he said.
“Next year I would expect the rise to be subdued, but still rising.”