Connect with us


Will El Nino reach the UK this weekend?



Temperatures around the world rocketed to the highest levels since records began last time El Nino hit in 2016, leading to intense drought, extreme flooding, and an increased number of tropical cyclones.

After three years of the La Nina climate pattern, which often lowers global temperatures, the hotter El Nino phenomenon is back in action this year, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the Met Office, told The Independent the world is potentially set for another record-breaking year next year as a result of El Nino, with the Met Office being “reasonably confident” in predicting temperatures could reach 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The relative warming or cooling effect of El Nino or La Nina years shown on a graph where the white line is average global temperature

(Met Office)


He explained the complexities surrounding this weather pattern and its likely impact on the UK as temperatures in this country are set to soar to up to 31 degrees this weekend.

What is El Nino?

El Nino is declared when sea temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise half a degree above the long-term average.

As the Pacific Ocean warms, it imparts heat into the atmosphere and raises the global temperature temporarily, explained Mr Madge.

He said El Nino is “a very strong weather driver” globally and in fact “one of the largest”.

Temperatures around the world rocketed to the highest levels since records began last time El Nino hit in 2016, leading to intense drought

(PA Archive)


Does El Nino affect the UK?

When it comes to the UK, there are some connections between what happens with the conditions in the tropical Pacific and what happens in the UK, but it is “pretty weak”, revealed Mr Madge.

“The emphasis of El Nino compared with other weather drivers is somewhat muted because the Pacific is far away,” he explained.

The weather phenomenon El Nino can also lead to extreme flooding in some parts of the world

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Will El Nino strike the UK this weekend?

El Nino will not be hitting the UK this weekend, or in fact anywhere else in the world, because the weather pattern is not fully formed yet, according to Mr Madge.


“The El Nino that’s developing won’t be fully formed until the end of the year,” he said. “So it will have very little bearing on the UK summer.”

The phenomenon is currently in its “development phase”, he said. “According to our estimates it is building and will continue to build until year-end. There will be no impact yet, and it is nowhere near fully formed.”

However, the UK is set for temperatures hitting a scorching 31C this weekend, according to Mr Madge, although not because of El Nino.

Health chiefs have upgraded a yellow alert for the weekend to an amber heat-health alert in five regions. The amber alert, which covers southeast England, the West Midlands, East Midlands, east of England and the southwest, means there is a greater risk to everyone’s health – and not just the vulnerable.

Temperatures in the UK are set to soar to up to 31 degrees this weekend, according to Mr Madge

(Getty Images)

“There is a high likelihood that forecasted temperatures will be reached rapidly over the weekend in these regions, while we are also likely to see high overnight temperatures,” the UK Health Security Agency said.


A “plume of warm air” from the south is expected to push the mercury up, the Met Office said, with a chance of 31C for some parts of England this Saturday. Those areas could be hotter than Ibiza and Milan, where temperatures will reach 28C.

Will El Nino be hitting the UK this year?

Mr Madge explained the UK might feel El Nino’s effects in Winter – but the country is not actually located in the region that experiences its impact most acutely.

“The UK’s winter could be subject to El Nino’s influence,” he said. “But the country is also subject to a number of other global weather drivers, which all compete and often balance each other out.”

Mr Madge explained that the UK’s weather is primarily influenced by what happens in the Atlantic Ocean, such as changing sea surface temperatures.

He told of a phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation, which occurs over the North Atlantic Ocean and is when there are fluctuations in atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High, often bringing more wind and rain.

“This would compete with El Nino”, he said. “They would be in potential opposition.”


The UK is impacted by a number of different weather drivers, which are “all competing and all have impact”, with El Nino being just one of many, he explained.

Where in the world does El Nino most affect?

When El Nino hits towards the end of the year, “there will inevitably be drying in the western Pacific”, said Mr Madge, describing that region as “close to the theatre where El Nino operates”.

That area, from southeast Asia arcing through the Philippines down into southern Australia, will experience reduced rainfall, as has happened in previous years, he said.

According to Mr Madge, this increases the likelihood of wildfires because the vegetation on the ground is dry, which will, in turn, release more carbon into the atmosphere and cause a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

He added climate change has meant El Nina years of the present are now hotter than El Nino years of the past, because overall global temperatures are increasing.


When was the last El Nino year?

El Nino last hit the world in a big way in 2016, when those record-breaking temperatures were recorded, said Mr Madge, leading to the hottest year since records began.

However, the years of 2019 and 2020 both experienced “modest” El Nino effects, he added.

Source: Independent

Follow us on Google News to get the latest Updates