Wednesday October 25, 2023

Yale e360

A new study finds that warming has come to influence the formation of El Niño.

During El Niño, warm waters pool in the eastern Pacific and radiate heat into the air, leading to hotter weather across much of the globe. A strong El Niño is now taking shape and, according to NOAA, there is a 99 percent chance that 2023 will be the hottest year ever recorded.

The new study shows that, historically, there was a strong link between changes in solar output and the onset of El Niño, but now El Niño is more heavily influenced by human-caused warming.

For the research, scientists analyzed stalagmites collected from two caves on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island. The stalagmites, formed by the slow, but varied drip of groundwater, serve as a record of the climate over the past 3,500 years, and indicate when El Niños took place.

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