2015 shattered the record books as the hottest year ever! It seems like 2016 is following in the same footsteps by breaking the record once again. It’s been common refrain to hear that August has yet again, like the first 7 months of 2016, been ranked the hottest August on record.
August came in 0.98˚C above the average from 1951-1980, and 0.16˚C above August 2014, the previous record holder. The record keeps 2016 on track to be the hottest year in the books by a fair margin.
August continuing the streak of record hot months this year has been somewhat unexpected due to the dissipation of El Niño.
Back in November 2015, El Niño reached a fever pitch, vaulting into the ranks of the strongest events on record and wreaking havoc on weather patterns around the world.
Since the beginning of May 2016 El Niño dissipated and moved into a neutral phase cooling down the oceans by a small margin.
But the real question is whether we about to enter a La Niña event or stay in the neutral phase? Well apparently that's according to whom you ask.
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), La Niña has in fact arrived and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology(BOM) still has a La Niña watch in place but awaiting it official arrival. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) dropped its La Niña watch indicating that it’s unlikely that a La Niña will form this spring or summer. Even though the three meteorological agencies are disagreeing whether we are moving into a La Nina event, they are all agreeing that this La Niña is unlikely to strengthen.
This is the same pattern of 2014 when La Niña ‘sort of’ arrived in September and continued into 2015 but developed into one of the strongest El Niños on record in the summer of 2015.
Unfortunately without the cooling influence of a La Niña event, and continuously-rising global temperatures, South Africa is likely to continue feeling the heat.