Once again, we are all alive for weather history.
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The El Niño that we are currently facing is the strongest that has ever been recorded, according to The Weather Channel - and it might just take away your White Christmas.
There was some speculation that we would beat the El Niño from 1997-1998's winter, but sources now confirm that we have completely smashed the record. Unfortunately, that isn't something we should be celebrating.
The new figures that have been released show that the effects of the El Niño could spread worldwide. The El Niño from 97-98 killed 20,000 people and caused almost $100 billion in damage due to fires, cyclones, floods, droughts, and mudslides. It is likely that these extreme weather patterns have been brought on by climate change.
El Niño happens when there is warm water that piles up around Indonesia and Australia and spills out into the Pacific Ocean, bringing tons of rain toward the Americas.
“The El Niño community is closely watching the evolution [of this El Niño] and whether the current event will surpass the 1997-8 event,” says Axel Timmerman at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. “Monthly and weekly central Pacific temperature anomalies clearly show that this current event has surpassed it.”
Temperatures in the central Pacific, which are at an all-time high, have the biggest impact on the global atmospheric circulation, and therefore the biggest impact on El Niño.
So far this year, more than 2,000 people have died in a heatwave that was caused by a monsoon that was likely an effect of El Niño. Now, the region is experiencing crippling rains, another effect.
Southern India is having a lot of rain as it goes into winter, having come out of the dry monsoon. This is only so during extreme El Niño, so it is a confirmation that the El Niño is huge,” says Wenju Cai at Australia’s government scientific research body, CSIRO in Melbourne.
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Let's just hope that while the El Niño may be record breaking, the damage is not.