The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their temperature data for the Pacific Ocean, confirming that the current El Niño is the hottest ever recorded. Unfortunately, this also may guarantee that the current cycle will result in a prolonged La Niña event in the later half of 2016.
The previous record-holding El Niño period was the week of November 26, 1997, where surface temperatures were recorded at 2.8°C. The new record, for the week ending November 09, 2015, hit an even 3.0°C above normal – over seven percent higher than the previous record. This will result in more severe weather patterns in the US southwest, and possible drought conditions in Australia and Indonesia.
NOAA is also forecasting, based on patterns recorded from the 1997 El Niño, that the current cycle will result in a rapid reversion to a lengthy La Niña cycle, possibly within as little as nine months after the El Niño ends. This cooling period is expected to result in increased hurricane activity in the Atlantic, and a return of prolonged drought on the west coast.
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