Not long after the United Nations announced this year's El Nino could become one of the "worst ever," one key metric is showing just that.
Data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that water in the Central Pacific Ocean reached 3.1 degrees Celsius above its average on November 18 — significantly higher than the record temperature observed during the 1997-1998 El Nino, according to an article in the New Scientist.
A series of natural disasters and extreme weather events that was attributed to El Nino in '97-'98 killed 20,000 people and caused almost $97 billion in damage.
Evidence has suggested that El Nino patterns have become more severe over the last few decades than in the previous few centuries, and some areas have reported extreme, weather-related events, such as unprecedented wildfires and unusually intense storms.
Other studies have indicated that climate change is intensifying El Nino patterns and the extreme events associated with them.