News Picks : Latest climate models predict weak-to-moderate El Niño this year
Nature: Because of the hint of an impending El Niño in January, researchers are watching the Pacific Ocean closely for any changes in temperature and atmospheric conditions. Extreme El Niño events, such as those that occurred in 1982–83 and 1997–98, can severely disrupt global weather patterns. The 1997 event, one of the strongest on record, “caused extreme rainfall along the western coasts of North and South America and drought in Australia and southeast Asia, resulting in thousands of deaths and tens of billions of dollars’ worth of damage,” writes Mark Zastrow for Nature. For that reason, scientists are using satellites, buoys, and autonomous underwater vehicles to gather as much information as possible on the impending event. Not only do they hope to be able to improve their forecasting of future El Niño events, but they also want to better understand El Niño’s history going back thousands of years.