This year, the natural phenomenon known as El Niño is making the effects of man-made climate change worse, according to experts. And in reverse, climate change is exacerbating El Niño. As Common Dreamsreported earlier this year, temporary warming of surface waters in the Pacific, known as El Niño, drives dramatic shifts in rainfall, temperature, and wind patterns worldwide, and can last for months or even years. In fact, Oxfam has warned, the warming of the oceans as a result of climate change may double the frequency of the most powerful El Niños.
“The specifics of what’s happening where El Niño, Arctic dynamics, and underlying warming meet are, in a word, complex, and scientists are actively discussing how things might play out,” wrote Erika Spanger-Siegfried of the Union of Concerned Scientists last week. “But the collective bottom line recognizes that global warming plays a role.”On the ground across the world, the effects have been dire.