Monday, November 23, 2015

El Niño may trigger floods, famine and sickness in much of the world

Monte Morin, LA Times

El Niño events have been responsible for two of California’s wettest and most destructive rainy seasons, in the winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98. Experts have said a potentially powerful El Niño this coming winter could be the beginning of the end of the drought.

A fog of suffocating smoke settles over the Indonesian countryside, sickening hundreds of thousands of people and triggering an environmental crisis.

In Peru, officials abandon plans to host the lucrative Dakar Rally and prepare instead for torrential rains and devastating floods.

And in Ethiopia, crops perish for lack of seasonal rain as United Nations officials warn of imminent famine.

Although many Californians hope forecasts of a "Godzilla" El Niño will deliver drought-busting rains this winter, mention of the mysterious climate phenomenon inspires dread in much of the world.

Its long-distance, or teleconnected, effects are so great that some researchers argue it doubles the risk of war in much of the Third World.

"It's a spawner of hazards everywhere," said El Niño researcher Michael "Mickey" Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

(More here.)

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