The El Niño phenomenon is under way and will be "at least moderate" in strength, according to the World Meteorological Organisation
The El Niño weather phenomenon, which triggers higher global temperatures, is set to continue throughout 2023 and will be "at least of moderate strength", according to the United Nations.
A new update from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) forecasts there is a 90% probability of the El Niño event continuing during the second half of 2023.
El Niño is a naturally occurring climate pattern typically associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains elsewhere.
“The onset of El Niño will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said.
“The declaration of an El Niño by WMO is the signal to governments around the world to mobilise preparations to limit the impacts on our health, our ecosystems and our economies.
“Early warnings and anticipatory action of extreme weather events associated with this major climate phenomenon are vital to save lives and livelihoods.”
Since 2020, the world has been affected by an exceptionally long La Niña - El Nino's cooling opposite - which ended earlier this year.
However, the UN has said the past eight years were the warmest ever recorded, despite La Niña's cooling effect stretching over nearly half that period. Without that weather phenomenon, the warming could have been even worse.
Wilfran Moufouma-Okia is head of regional climate prediction services at the World Meteorological Organisation.
"The impact of the El Niño event on global temperatures is likely to surge the global temperature because El Niño will add up to the anthropogenic warming and [it is] likely to increase the global temperature," he said.
While in some parts of the planet it will generate severe droughts, in others it will trigger torrential rains and floods.
The UN has called on governments around the world to anticipate the consequences of the arrival of El Niño.