Fact Finders: Why we could have the hottest year on record

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:21 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:54 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -A new report shows Arizona is among the areas expected to break records for heat in the next year or two. Here’s why: after three years of the generally cooler La Nina pattern in the Pacific, climate models show El Nino returning. This could happen in 2023 or 2024. The last hottest year on record was 2016, and there was a strong El Nino that year. This time, we could get even hotter. The last eight years have been the hottest on record around the world. Think of La Niña as a cold phase, while El Niño is a warmer one. It comes along when trade winds are weaker, letting warm water flow back toward the west coast of North and South America.

13 news Chief Meteorologist Erin Christiansen told us, it’s not a done deal. All El Niño years are different.

”There’s a 70% chance that this large-scale El Niño pattern will set up between early June to late August, and a higher chance it will peak during the heart of hurricane season,” Christiansen said. “So, it’s not definitive that we’re going to see this pattern set up just yet, but it is likely to develop probably around the July/August time frame and continue into winter of 2023 into 2024, when it would have a much bigger impact on the desert Southwest.”

She said we could notice other impacts, aside from heat. According to Christiansen, El Nino year could mean a delayed start to monsoon. But the biggest effect will be a heightened hurricane season, bringing more opportunities for rain across the West. You’ll find Erin’s entire explanation of these patterns in our web extra, which you can find here: https://www.kold.com/2023/04/25/web-extra-why-we-could-have-hottest-year-record/