An El Niño appears increasingly likely this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). If it starts relatively quickly, then 2014 could well be the hottest year on record. But if it is a strong El Niño, then 2015 would likely break all previous global records. Details here.
In January of 2011, I wrote the following here on PLT in a post I entitled:
Both La Niñas (cooling trends) and El Niños (warming ones), have been scientifically shown to be behaving strangely in recent years, with the onset of global warming.
In the early ‘90s, several El Niños were recorded, but with no La Niñas in between! The IPCC describes this occurrence as"highly unusual and very unlikely to be accounted for solely by natural variability.”
In a research paper in 1996, Dr. Trenberth noted this same event was “the longest on record…and opens up the possibility that the changes may be partly caused by the observed increases in greenhouse gases.”
Then, in the spring of 1997 until the summer of '98, perhaps the most devastating and prolonged El Niños of all time slammed into Ecuador, in South America. It caused a staggering $2.6 billion in damage to that country's infrastructure, farms, fisheries, homes and businesses.
Events like this have prompted the IPCC itself to observe"Whether global warming is affecting El Niños is now a key question."