The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
El Niños Strengthened by Climate Change
El Niño is a naturally occurring band of warm ocean water found in the eastern and central Pacific that can cause extreme weather events like floods, droughts and severe storms. Researchers found that climate change is making these phenomena originate increasingly far west where the water is warmer, which can cause them to be more extreme. All 11 El Niños that have occurred since 1978 formed in the central-western Pacific, including three "super" El Niños that broke temperature records.
As reported by Newsweek:
El Niño's slow but steady shift away from International Dateline, eastward of the Deadline but generally westward, is important to note because of the warmth of the water in the west, according to study lead author Bin Wang, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Hawaii.
Wang pointed out that there have been three "super" El Niños, in 1982, 1997 and 2015. All three started in the west. During each of those El Niños, the world broke new average temperature records.
Many forecasters predict a total lack of an El Niño or La Niña — the colder atmospheric counterpoint to El Niño, which causes heavy rains in dry atmospheres and drought conditions in wet atmospheres — during the upcoming winter months.
La Niñas were not part of the published study.
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.
Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.
Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.
Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.
East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.