A new study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences El Niño weather events are becoming more severe. El Niños have always impacted weather across the globe, and warmed the planet up. The fact that these storm systems are becoming progressively stronger is a major issue.
Researchers looked at 33 separate El Niño events since 1901 for this study. An El Niño event, for those who don’t know, occurs when the equatorial Pacific is naturally warmed, this triggers various weather events and storm systems across the world.
All of this data found that since the 1970’s El Niño has been forming farther west. Since western waters tend to be warmer, this has resulted in much more powerful weather events.
So, what exactly are these weather events that have everyone so worried? An El Niño affects the entire globe. Droughts can form in places like India and Australia, and floods can happen in places like the West coast of the United States.
The Insurance Journal refers to a United Nations study that found that “…the 1997-98 event caused thousands of deaths from severe storms, heat waves, floods and drought, costing between $32 billion and $96 billion.”
There have been three super El Niños in recent history. One in 1982, another in 1997 and the most recent in 2015. After each of those events, the world broke its average temperature records. This study indicates that those super events are going to become more common moving forward.
While most researchers agree with the studies findings, some have expressed reservations about the methodology that was used. According to the Insurance Journal, “Florida State University El Niño expert Allan Clarke said the study focused too much on water temperature, when so much of El Niño formation depends on how water and the atmosphere are interconnected.”