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Why the warming effects of this El Niño event will linger for several months

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(LOS ANGELES) — The effects of the El Niño event currently bringing extreme moisture to the southwestern U.S. are expected to linger for months, with record heat recorded all over the world, scientists say.

Several regions around the planet are expected to experience record-breaking average surface air temperatures through the summer as a result of heating influence from the current El Niño pattern, according to a study published in Scientific Reports on Thursday.

The study’s modeling says there’s a 90% chance of record-breaking global mean surface temperatures occurring under a moderate or strong El Niño scenario, the researchers found.

The Bay of Bengal and the Philippines are predicted to experience record-breaking average surface air temperatures under a moderate El Niño scenario, according to the study.

Under a strong El Niño, the Caribbean Sea, South China Sea and areas of the Amazon and Alaska are also predicted to experience record-breaking average surface air temperatures, the researchers said.

In addition, there is a 90% chance that global mean surface temperatures will break the historical record this summer. The researchers estimate global mean surface temperatures to reach 1.10 degrees Celsius above the benchmark of the 1951 to 1980 mean under a moderate scenario or up to 1.2 degrees Celsius above the benchmark of the 1951 to 1980 mean under a strong scenario.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation, a warmer-than-normal surface ocean temperature in the eastern equatorial Pacific, is a key driver of climate variability around the world, according to scientists. Historically, an El Niño event causes a large margin of heating months after the peak, which also occurred in 2016 and 1998, records show.

The current El Niño pattern has already peaked and will be over by the spring. But record-high global mean surface temperatures influenced by the system could prevail as late as June of this year, according to the paper.

A slight increase in global mean surface temperatures has been strongly linked to significant increases in surface air temperatures during extreme regional heating events, the researchers said.

Record-breaking average temperatures will likely challenge regions’ current capability to cope with the consequences of excess heat, as high surface air temperatures can lead to a significant increase in the likelihood of extreme climate events including wildfires, tropical cyclones and heat waves, the authors warn.

The effects will be especially felt in oceanic and coastal areas where the higher heat capacity of the ocean leads to climate conditions persisting for extended periods of time, according to researchers.

The current El Niño system has been inundating the southwest U.S. with excessive precipitation. It has also contributed to warming patterns in the U.S., such as in the Great Lakes region, which barely formed any ice over this past winter season.

ABC News’ Daniel Peck contributed to this report.

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