REPORT: Extreme El Niño and La Niña events are coming

Farmers hoping for rain in NSW. Photo: Getty Images

A new study published in Nature Climate Change reveal that more extreme El Niño and La Niña events are on their way.

Scientists says they have new insights into El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) have found links between changes in the weather events and the Pacific region, likely due to global warming.

“Accelerated equatorial Pacific warming, particularly in the east, is expected to induce extreme rainfall in the eastern equatorial Pacific and extreme equatorward swings of the Pacific convergence zones, both of which are features of extreme El Niño,” the report reads.

“The frequency of extreme La Niña is also expected to increase in response to more extreme El Niños, an accelerated maritime continent warming and surface-intensified ocean warming.”

The authors predict that these ENSO-related “catastrophic weather events” will therefore occur more frequently unless greenhouse-gas emissions are reduced.

Because Australia is already a dry climate, such a change would produce longer droughts and increased flooding.

The last time such a El Niño weather pattern presented itself was in 2006/07, causing one of the worst droughts on record.

Read the report here.