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El Niño weather events could double, causing wide devastation

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El Niño weather patterns are getting more prevalent. In fact, say some scientists, they may double over the next few years, bringing death, destruction and devastation across the world. Fires, floods and shifting rain patterns will be more common. An Australian study, headed by Dr. Wenju Cai from the scientific group CSIRO, predicts that the warming patterns known as “El Niño” will be arriving every 10 years, rather than the more recent 20, reports the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday, January 20.

The higher the temperatures reached, warn the researchers, the more devastating the results might be. The predictions fit well into recent stories about three-digit heat in Australia and the cancellation of parts of the Australian Open tennis matches.

Scientists made their projections by combining data from 20 climate models, assuming global greenhouse emissions continuing at current high rates. Their calculations demonstrated total number of events would remain approximately the same, but that the extreme events would double in frequency. This same method of testing worked out over the past hundred years, and it seems to be holding true in the current period, set from 1991-2090.

CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia's national science agency. The group, involved in many areas of scientific research, is one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

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