The Australian Bureau of Meteorology today announced the creation of the El Nino weather phenomenon, generally associated with rising temperatures and severe droughts that could lead to devastating bushfires.

Meteorologist Carl Braganza, who works for the government, announced that an El Niño phenomenon has formed in the Pacific Ocean, coinciding with the unusual spring heatwave currently affecting eastern Australia.

El Niño occurs on average every two to seven years, and episodes typically last nine to twelve months.

In July, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) estimated the chances of occurrence of the phenomenon during the second half of 2023 at 90%.

They prepare for droughts and forest fires

Four years after the forest fires that they burned vast areas of southeastern Australia and claimed the lives of 33 peoplethe country is again on high alert and preparing for the hottest and longest dry season since the so-called Black Summer.

Australian spring begins in September and already record maximum temperatures are being broken in the densely populated area around Sydney with some schools in the area have been closed due to the risk of bushfires, a month before bushfire season officially begins.

“This (Australian) summer will be warmer than average and certainly warmer than the last three years”according to Braganza.

Extreme heat, hurricanes and floods threaten the rest of the planet

“The arrival of El Niño will significantly increase the likelihood of breaking the maximum temperature record and causing more extreme heat in many regions of the world and in the oceans,” said WMO Secretary-General Petri Taalas.

It is a normal climatic phenomenon that associated with increased ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. But the current episode “nevertheless falls within the context of a climate modified by human activities,” the WMO said.

El Niño is generally associated with increased rainfall in areas of southern Latin America, the southern United States, the Horn of Africa, and Central Asia.

It can cause severe droughts in Australia, Indonesia, parts of South Asia and Central America.

On the other hand, its warm waters can feed hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific Oceanwhile they can slow the formation of cyclones in the Atlantic basin.