Graph: Strong El Niño Brings Warmer Global Temperatures
The strong 2015-2016 El Niño is likely playing a role as the average global temperature of an El Niño year is 0.4°F higher than a La Niña year. However, the strong El Niño is not solely responsible for the warming planet. Global temperatures have been trending upward since 1950, regardless of whether or not the Pacific Ocean was in an El Niño, La Niña, or neutral phase. In fact, La Niña years in the 21st Century are now warmer than El Niño years just 30 years ago. Similarly, the long term trend of global ocean water temperatures is on the increase, emphasizing that El Niño is only magnifying the ongoing warming trend.