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When El Nio returns, Earth’s temperature may approach a dangerous level.

El Niño is marked by warmer-than-normal Pacific Ocean waters that trigger droughts, precipitation and coral bleaching. A strong El Niño helped send global temperatures to a record high in 2016 (a mark tied in 2020). Some scientists are predicting the next couple of years could push past those temperature records. Under El Niño, “extreme weather that has rampaged across our planet in 2021 and 2022 will pale into insignificance”. It’s possible that 2023 could bring record global warmth. But Schmidt said it’s less clear that 1.5 degrees of warming is imminent.