Australian Scientists Forecast More El Niño Extremes

BeachesPhoto: Getty Images

A new study suggests that catastrophic weather will become more frequent as the surface of the Pacific Ocean gets warmer.

Researchers, led by CSIRO climate modeler Wenju Cai, investigated the effect of climate change on the frequency of extreme El Niño events.

He used climate models to show that a doubling in the occurrence of extreme El Niño episodes is caused by increased surface warming of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

El Niño is a natural climate variability feature that has worldwide effects. Extreme El Niño events cause global disruption of weather patterns and affect ecosystems and agriculture through changes in rainfall.

These findings are in contrast to previous studies that found no consensus on El Niño change.

The authors suggest that the increased frequency of these episodes will result in more frequent catastrophic weather.

The effects of climate change on the frequency of extreme El Niño events are investigated in a paper published online in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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