El Niño’s return
El Niño, the Pacific Ocean weather phenomenon that affects temperatures and rainfall all over the world, could make a reappearance this winter, reports BBC.com. Scientists at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) say there is a 70 percent chance of the weather event happening by year’s end, while Japan’s weather bureau puts the likelihood of it happening from September to November at 60 percent. The last El Niño, in 2015–16, was one of the strongest ever recorded. It led to soaring temperatures—2016 was the warmest year on record—widespread drought in Africa, and floods across South America. WMO researchers say this year’s El Niño, if it develops, won’t be as powerful. The phenomenon, which involves fluctuating ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific, usually takes place only once every five to seven years. WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas says a recurrence so soon would suggest that “climate change is influencing the traditional dynamics of El Niño and La Niña,” its sister event.