The Star Bulletin - Daily News Updates

El Niño is now in full swing. What does this mean for the U.S.?

El Niño

El Nio has been confirmed to have arrived, which indicates that the temperature is going to continue to rise. The natural climatic phenomena is characterized by ocean temperatures that are warmer in the equatorial Pacific, which causes hotter weather everywhere else in the planet.

According to Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “[El Nio] could lead to new records for temperatures.”

El Nio years are often the warmest years ever recorded in the global temperature record. El Nio, which is a natural climate pattern, is one of the most evident ways in which the consequences of climate change, which are caused by humans burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, are exacerbated. It is one of the most obvious ways because it is one of the most obvious method.

Temperature superlatives, however, mask a larger trend: the past eight years have been the warmest ever recorded, despite the fact that a persistent La Nia that began in late 2020 and has only recently ended, which lowered world temperatures. This pattern was obscured by temperature superlatives. Warming due to human activity is so powerful that it completely overwhelms the natural range of temperature variation that occurs on Earth.

The effects of other aspects of climate change are also made worse by El Nio. El Nio, in general, ushers in a period of warmer and drier weather in the Northern United States and Canada. This is unfavorable information for Canada, which has already endured an unusually warm spring and is currently coping with the aftermath of massive wildfires stretching from Alberta to the Maritimes in the East.

El Nio makes dangerously heavy rainstorms considerably more likely to occur in the southern United States, where climate change is already making such storms more frequent. The fact that many areas have seen flash floods in recent years, which have resulted in the destruction of homes and even the deaths of people, and which do not have drain pipes and stormwater infrastructure that are built to withstand the massive amounts of rain that now routinely fall in short periods of time, is bad news.

The one bright spot for people living in the United States? The El Nio weather pattern is not favorable for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Because the wind patterns during El Nio years are unfavorable for the development of hurricanes, there are often fewer storms during these years.

But even in those areas, the effects of climate change driven by humans are becoming more noticeable. Because of the disruption in the climate, the water in the Atlantic is quite warm, and storms can only thrive in water that is warm. As a direct consequence of this, the hurricane forecast for this year is not as calm as you might anticipate it to be for an El Nio year. Instead, forecasters anticipate a number of storms that is slightly higher than typical.

By Richard M. Lunsford

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