The El Niño weather event currently in place across the Pacific, including Australia, has the potential to be one of the worst ever, according to experts.
The Bureau of Meteorology has consistently warned of a rising El Nino threat
over the past months and now global experts have stated that the current cycle could be one of the strongest in history.
In its latest update, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said that the current El Niño could prove to be historic.
“The majority of international climate outlook models suggest that the 2015-16 El Niño is likely to strengthen further before the end of the year,” the update said.
“Models and expert opinion suggest that surface water temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to exceed 2° Celsius above average, potentially placing this El Niño event among the four strongest events since 1950 (1972-73, 1982-83, 1997-98).”
Acting regional director of the Bureau of Meteorology in South Australia, John Nairn, agreed with this assessment as he sees the current event as a challenge to previous years.
"We're seeing a very large event. It's going to challenge the 1997 El Niño which is the largest we've ever seen," Nairn told reporters, according to the ABC.
The weather system, which can lead to increased drought risk across Australia, has “maintained consistency and strengthened during recent months,” the WMO update continued.
Director of the Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch of the WMO, Maxx Dilley, told the BBC
that the world is more prepared for this strong El Niño compared with previous events.
"Compared to the last major El Niño event in 1997-1998, there is much more information available," Dilley said.
"We have better models and are much more prepared.
"It is a test case for the early warning systems and climate information systems of WMO members and we are hoping that will be of assistance to some of the affected countries."