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Climate scientists predict doubling of El Niño events

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Climate scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (CoECSS) presented new research in the Jan. 19, 2014, edition of the journal Nature Climate Change that predicts that El Niño events will double for the next one hundred years as global temperatures continue to rise.

The researchers based their findings on 20 climate models that have tracked the development of El Niño systems for the last 200 years.

The scientists have determined that the location of the initial development of El Niño systems has shifted to the equatorial Pacific Ocean from the western Pacific Ocean as global temperatures have increased. Water temperatures that exceed 28 degrees Celsius have become more frequent in the last several decades.

The change in the location of the initiation of El Niño systems predicts more El Niño events that will produce significant large amounts of rain in the Americas and a significant aridity leading to fires in Australia and parts of Asia and China.

The researchers predict that significant El Niño events like the El Niño of 1997 to 1998 that cost over $350 billion and killed 23,000 people are expected to double at least for the next hundred years as global temperatures continue to increase.

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