As record heat grips world, weatherman announces El Nino rains

China saw its highest-ever recorded temperature, while Phoenix, Arizona, endured 21 consecutive days above 43.3 degrees Celsius. Rome, still recovering from last year's heat record, found itself breaking it once more. Ocean temperatures soared to unprecedented levels, and at least 15 countries reported local all-time temperature records being shattered.

But behind these staggering statistics lies a trail of human tragedies. In South Korea, 13 lives were lost as cars became trapped in a flooded tunnel, while in Pakistan, a record monsoon triggered a landslide that buried 15 people and claimed the lives of 8 children during a cricket game.

The southern US, reeling under deadly temperatures, saw at least 10 migrants succumb to the heat in a single weekend. In Oaxaca, Mexico, a 17-year-old boy working in the pineapple fields fell victim to the relentless heat.

Hospitals across Italy were overwhelmed with patients suffering from heat exposure, with some reporting numbers similar to the peak of the Covid pandemic.

'The extreme weather also cast a shadow on future food security as crops faced damage from the unforgiving heat," said Dr Zachary M. Labe, a climate scientist at Princeton University.

As the world grapples with extreme heat, the Kenya Met Department(KMD) has issued a high-probability warning for El Nino conditions in the country from October to December.

The weatherman reported that the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has transitioned from a neutral phase to El Nino since March, which is often associated with heavy rains and floods during the October-November-December (OND) season, particularly in East Africa.

According to Dr. David Gikungu, the Director of Meteorological Services, there is a strong likelihood (approximately 90%) of El Nino conditions prevailing during the rest of the year and possibly extending into early 2024. He explained that the strength of El Nino, along with other drivers such as the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), will determine the outcome of rainfall during the phenomenon.

Kenya's previous experience with El Nino in 1997 led to exceptionally heavy rainfall and devastating floods, a combination of El Nino and a positive IOD.

However, the effects of these phenomena vary from year to year. For instance, the subsequent El Nino in 2015 had a higher index but resulted in lower rainfall, causing less significant impacts than expected.

KMD emphasized the significant influence of ENSO conditions on rainfall patterns in Eastern Africa during the June, July, August, and September (JJAS) seasons. El Nino events during JJAS are more likely to result in below-average rainfall, as most forecast models predict for the current season.

As the world battles with the consequences of record heat, scientists have confirmed that July 2023 was the hottest month on record, with global average temperatures rising to 1.2 degrees Celsius since 1850.

According to the UN, The current policies put the world on track for a concerning 2.8 degrees Celsius temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. To meet the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, drastic and immediate actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions are imperative.

Dr. Karsten who conducted the study confirmed that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are the primary driver behind the escalating temperatures. The ongoing El Nino event is contributing to the warmth, but the long-term impact is primarily a result of continued greenhouse gas release.

"July 2023 was going to be the warmest July by a wide margin with 0.2C above the previous record. Not only will it be the warmest July, but the warmest month ever in terms of absolute global mean temperature. We may have to go back thousands if not tens of thousands of years to find similarly warm conditions on our planet," Haustein said.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by upcoming climate summits and conferences, such as COP28 in Dubai, UAE, where major polluters must adopt tougher targets to curb emissions and accelerate the transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources.