El Niño is a warm surface current originating in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and spreading towards the coast of South America. It is believed that its strengthening negatively affects the climate of the planet. So the past year turned out to be the hottest in the history of meteorological observations, which was a consequence of the activation of El Niño.
As the latest NASA research with the Jason-2 weather satellite shows, the upward trend in El Niño will continue, promising an even hotter year. The images show unusually high ocean surface temperatures along the equator in the central and eastern Pacific, suggesting a significant layer of warm water.
El Niño starts when the steady western blowing trade winds in the Pacific weaken and even begin to blow in the opposite direction. This leads to a sharp warming of the upper layers of water in the central and eastern part of the tropical Pacific Ocean.
In 2015, thanks to El Niño, a warm layer of water formed, which usually looked like a thin strip running around Australia and Indonesia. Now, in the eastern tropics of the Pacific Ocean, the usually cool waters are covered with a layer of warm water.
This redistribution of heat increased ocean temperatures from the central Pacific to the Americas. As a result, heavy rainfall hit Southeast Asia, while large-scale forest fires began in Indonesia due to drought.
El Niño has caused heat waves in India, coral bleaching, drought in South Africa, flooding in South America and a string of hurricanes in the eastern Pacific.