This year has already witnessed record heat, and an unusually strong El Niño is only adding to it. El Niño is a weather pattern that warms Pacific Ocean waters. The warm water then contributes heat to the atmosphere. This weather pattern occurs every few years, including this year. In 135 years of record keeping, four of the five hottest months ever have already occurred in 2015. It is the hottest start to any year in history. Scientists believe 2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record. And, given the strength of this year’s El Niño, its warm waters are expected to last into the coming winter and possibly spring.
Image by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.