China is likely to experience another intense year of heatwaves and extreme weather events in 2024 due to the effects of the El Nino climate cycle, according to a senior meteorologist.
After oscillating between record cold snaps and blistering summertime temperatures this year, the country will probably contend with even hotter conditions paired with powerful storms, floods and droughts next year as El Nino peaks.
The National Climate Center’s chief expert, Zhou Bing, warned that 2024’s temperatures may eclipse the unprecedented heat seen in 2023, which included the remote northwestern township of Ayding Lake recording China's highest temperature on record at 52°C in summer.
The year could also usher in more frequent and forceful bouts of extreme weather, Zhou stated in an interview broadcast by state media CCTV.
El Nino emerges every two to seven years as equatorial Pacific Ocean surface temperatures rise substantially above normal levels. This perturbation of the ocean-atmosphere system has cascading impacts on global weather.
It usually lasts nine to 12 months, meaning the current El Nino event, which commenced in June 2022, is expected to wane in 2024’s second financial quarter.
However, Zhou cautioned that even as El Nino dissipates, its meteorological consequences often persist for longer.
Already this year, the phenomenon has been implicated in anomalous late December cold across China, record-smashing rainfall, and deadly typhoons.
Hence, the country should plan for a continuation of temperature spikes interspersed with damaging storms well into 2024.