Expect more drought, flooding, and other crazy weather
In Nature Climate Change, doi.org/q4c, researchers predict that El Niños will become twice as common, about once a decade in the future versus every 20 years the past century.
Another recent study showed that even normal El Niños will bring more severe drought and rain (Nature, doi.org/n9n).
Extreme El Niños can kill tens of thousands of people by causing a tenfold increase in rain in South America, flooding in the Americas, and drought in Australia, Africa, and elsewhere.
Until now scientists weren’t sure if climate change would affect El Niño because it wasn’t known if temperatures in the Pacific would vary more in the future, but since the eastern Pacific is warming faster than the western Pacific this will eat up the east and shift rainfall.
Other scientists have found that El Ninos have grown more intense between 1979-2009 than 1590-1880 (Climate of the Past, doi.org/q28).