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
By Jason Bittel
Authorities in Hong Kong intercepted some questionable cargo three years ago — a rather large shipment of shark fins that had originated in Panama. Shark fins are a hot commodity among some Asian communities for their use in soup, and most species are legally consumed in Hong Kong, but certain species are banned from international trade due to their extinction risk. And wouldn't you know it: this confiscated shipment contained nearly a ton of illegal hammerhead fins.
Coldplay is releasing a new album on Friday, but the release will not be followed by a world tour.
Scientists have discovered a genetic basis to resistance against ash tree dieback, a devastating fungal infection that is predicted to kill over half of the ash trees in the region, and it could open up new possibilities to save the species.