‘Uncharted territory’: El Niño to flip to La Niña in what could be the hottest year on record

El Niño is likely to give way soon, ushering in a quick switch to its opposite atmospheric and ocean pattern, La Niña. 

For the U.S., this climatological flip-flop will likely mean a greater risk of major hurricanes in the Atlantic as well as areas of drier-than-usual weather in the southern portions of the country. Globally, La Niña usually leads to declining temperatures, but the lag in when the effects take place means that 2024 will likely still be a top-five year for temperature in climate history, said Tom Di Liberto, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).