Can El Niño return in 2023?

The chance that La Niña will continue to be present during the next months of December 2022 and in January and February 2023 has increased by 75%. However, after the end of the weather phenomenon and some period of neutrality, chances of the return of the El Niño.

The forecast came from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University. According to meteorologist Cindy Fernández, from the Argentine National Meteorological Service (SMN), “when summer arrives, what is observed in the forecasts is that [La Niña] will tend to weaken, so that other factors will begin to act that will contribute or inhibit its effects”.

Another agency that already projects El Niño in the long term is the Climate Impact Company, which predicts this weather phenomenon forming in late 2023. “At the beginning of next year, the very hot SSTA pattern will disappear, reinforced by the negative dipole of the Indian Ocean (-IOD) at the eastern end of the equatorial Indian Ocean”, the meteorologists point out.

According to them, at the moment, “super-hot waters north and northwest of Australia are fueling convection, which includes updrafts of air. This rising air is replaced by improved trade winds from the east. This exchange raises cold water in the central/eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean to maintain La Niña. However, this ENSO accelerator weakens and disappears in the months of February and March of the next year. Consequently, La Niña must also end.”

“What’s next? A 2 in 3 risk of El Niño development as likely after mid-2023. Conclusion: Once the super-hot SSTA in the equatorial eastern Indian Ocean/western Pacific Ocean recedes, the mechanism driving La Nina should subside . The catalyst for this change is the dissipation of the -IOD pattern in January. ENSO has a natural character to oscillate from one phase to the opposite phase and this character should be in place by the end of 2023”, conclude the meteorologists.