1.5ºC: Will El Niño put us over the top in 2024?

Pacific Ocean temperature anomaly data from NOAA, based on the INO measurement, one of several used to measure the intensity of El Niño and La Niña cycles; projections are mine, but are consistent with several of the latest climate models

When you live on the west coast of the Americas, you really feel the influence of El Niño (exceptionally warm ocean temperatures in the Pacific) and La Niña (exceptionally cool ocean temperatures in the Pacific). Here in Vancouver, we have just come off three years in a row of (on average) cooler than normal temperatures, as La Niña has held sway. And that’s despite the fact that we’ve broken all time high temperature records in each of the last two summers — at the -1.0º nadir of La Niña. It’s been two years of extremes for the usually-moderate weather of the coast. Last August was the hottest August on record, and last November the coldest November on record.

In our last El Niño cycle, in 2014-16, we broke records here for the hottest one-year moving average temperature. Meteorologists are predicting the next El Niño will start late this year or early next year, and if that’s true, we’ll get our eyes opened about climate collapse pretty quickly. If we hit 43ºC (110ºF) in suburban Vancouver in 2021 when La Niña was at -1.0ºC from normal, what will we be facing when El Niño tops out (as it did in 2015-16) at +2.6ºC from normal?

—— vs: ——

chart from Wikimedia Commons; projections for 2023-24 and Strong-El Niño trendline are my additions

The chart above from Wikimedia shows the inexorable rise of average global surface temperatures to well over 1.0ºC above ‘pre-industrial’ (1850-1900 average) levels. Climate scientists have made it clear that avoidance of climate collapse, and the livability of our planet, depends on keeping these increases to less than 1.5ºC above these levels.

As I’ve been reporting for 20 years now, an increasing number of climate scientists say that keeping increases to that level is practicably impossible. If you draw a trendline through recent El Niño maxima, then if we get another strong El Niño in 2024, as many climate predictors are now forecasting, we could easily shoot past the 1.5ºC ceiling next year. So much for predictions we’d have “until 2030” to achieve this.

Along with other recent revelations about Big Oil suppressing their actual huge emission levels, about alarming rises in methane emissions, about the utter failure of tech solutions like carbon offsets, carbon capture and storage, and transitions to renewables to have any impact whatever on rising emissions, about the staggering ecological cost of endless wars, and of course the failure of doltish, doddering, virtue-signalling politicians everywhere to even begin to act on their absurd promises, climate catastrophe is now inevitable. The only question is how much and what parts of the planet will become unlivable, and how fast.

These data suggest, once again, that this is coming faster than even last year’s gloomiest predictions anticipated.

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7 Responses to 1.5ºC: Will El Niño put us over the top in 2024?

  1. Joe Clarkson says:

    This is why we need a rich-world economic collapse as soon as possible. There are so many things that could trigger a rapid collapse, but so far, no luck.

  2. John Whiting says:

    Thank you Dave! As usual, your information cannot save us, but it could prevent us from dying ignorant, which would give me a certain satisfaction.


  3. Ivo says:

    As always, thanks for your article.

    Solar cycle 25 is also picking up over this period,
    don’t know how much entropy that will throw into the mix.



  4. Billiam says:

    What sort of time investment is necessary to get past my climate naivete? Methane release seems like it might have some promise but computer models and expert opinion don’t do much for me. I’m trying to get on the climate freak out train but I can’t find the Carl Sagan of climate. If you knew you were going to forget everything you knew about climate tonight what would put in your information packet for tomorrow?

  5. Brutus says:

    Billiam, it took me roughly 4 years starting in 2007 to educate myself about not just the climate emergency but other trends that point to collapse, by which point I needed no further convincing. During that period, I gave my sustained attention to Guy McPherson, Mike Ruppert, XrayMike, and Paul Chefurka (I recommend you start with Paul). And of course Dave Pollard. Of those, only McPherson and Pollard are still active. I dwelt on it heavily for another 6 years or so but eventually turned my attention elsewhere like many others. It’s a tough road to maintain, with no rewards other than a devotion to truth. Still, the topic looms over everything for me, and I still blog about it when I have something new to add, which isn’t often anymore. That ground was pretty well covered already a decade ago. These days, I listen to Nate Hagens, but he hasn’t quite concluded that our collective fate is already determined.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Fascinating theoretical question, Billiam. I’d probably have to think more about it, but off the top I would say it would be a very large packet — climate science is enormously complex, and there isn’t one or two articles that can summarize the whole issue in a convincing way. The packet would include my blog (which is my auxiliary memory), a couple of blog articles by each of the ‘collapsniks’ in my right sidebar (including Brutus and Nate and Guy and XRayMike and Richard Heinberg). And a short course in complexity science, and a few videos on radical non-duality to help me cope with it all.

    Also, we’re all naive; we can’t know what’s going to happen. Nuclear annihilation, or any of the other ecological collapse factors other than climate change might well render all our knowledge and predictions about climate moot. And our social and political reactions to collapse are completely unpredictable. We can only go on the best available evidence and the balance of probabilities. We don’t really know anything: All we have are beliefs and opinions that we hold with differing degrees of fervour.

  7. Billium says:

    Brutus, I checked out:


    He didn’t say anything horribly foolish. That trips up more climate alarmists than you might think. I may be on my way.


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