Be prepared for extreme weather in the future, scientists say

01/20/2014 07:03

El Niño

According to a latest study, strong El Niño events will double in the next few decades due to global warming. These events occurred once every 20 years, but will occur once every ten years or so in the future.

The study was conducted by researchers at ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (CoECSS), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and CSIRO.

El Nino is characterized by warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. During extreme El Nino events, such as the ones that occurred in 1982-83 and 1997-98, weather patterns across the world change dramatically, resulting in sparse rains in some regions to extreme flooding in others. According to the latest study, global warming will lead to these strong El Nino events occurring faster than before.

"We currently experience an unusually strong El Niño event every 20 years. Our research shows this will double to one event every 10 years," said co-author, Dr Agus Santoso of CoECSS.

For the study, researchers looked at data from 20 climate models. The models simulated climate condition for two centuries- 1890 to 2090. They found that between 1890 and 1990, extreme El Nino occurred once every two decades. However, from 1990 to 2090, these events are likely to occur once every 10 years, nbcnews reported.

"The question of how global warming will change the frequency of extreme El Niño events has challenged scientists for more than 20 years," said co-author Dr Mike McPhaden of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a news release."This research is the first comprehensive examination of the issue to produce robust and convincing results."

The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

El Nino (Spanish for "the Christ Child") was first used to describe the changes in warm currents near Peru and Ecuador that occurred during Christmas. Now, researchers use El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to understand the fluctuations in climate across the world.

El Nino 2014

According to related research on climate change, 2014 El Niño could make parts of Southeast Asia and Australia hotter than usual.

The variation in global temperatures could mean low levels of rain in the Indian subcontinent along with higher number of tropical cyclones in Japan and Korea, according to Quartz. Also, El Niño activity could lead to storms during winter in certain parts of the U.S. such as the coast along California. NWN


Share |