The high economic costs that the El Niño phenomenon in 2023 and 2024 will bring to the United States and the world | The USA Print

The high economic costs that the El Niño phenomenon in 2023 and 2024 will bring to the United States and the world | The USA Print

The high economic costs that the El Niño phenomenon in 2023 and 2024 will bring to the United States and the world | The USA Print

In the coming months, a huge body of warm water will slowly move across the Pacific Ocean towards South America.

And as it does, it is going to trigger a weather event that is going to bring about dramatic changes in weather patterns around the world.

Scientists say there is a 90% chance that the El Niño phenomenon will spread until the end of the year and the first months of 2024.

And they also affirm that it will be a very strong one.

If the scientists’ prediction comes true, the impact could be significant.

The same researchers had already pointed out that with the increase in carbon dioxide emissions and a very intense El Niño, there is a 66% chance that the planet will break the temperature increase limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius at least one year from now. until 2027.

That also means other extreme weather effects like torrential rains and winter flooding.

“We are projecting a greater than 90% probability that there will be effects of El Niño during the winter“, tells the BBC David DeWittdirector of the Center for Climate Prediction of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“There is an 80% chance that we will have the El Niño phenomenon in July.”

Strong blow to the economy

The effects of this weather phenomenon could reverberate for a long time.

A study by Dartmouth College indicates that the El Niño that is about to begin could have a global cost of about $3.4 trillion dollars in the next five years.

For example, when reviewing the history of an economy like the US when similar events occurred in 1982 and 1998, the economy declined 3% the following decade from what it would have been without the event.

For this reason, the researchers point out that an event of a similar magnitude in these years could cost the US economy some $699 billion.

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It is worth noting that countries with a coast on the Pacific Ocean such as Peru and Indonesia suffered a 10% drop in economic output during the following years after the events of 1982 and 1998.

For this reason, the researchers note that global losses could exceed $84 trillion dollars in this century if global warming increases the frequency, but above all, the intensity of the El Niño phenomenon.

“El Niño is not simply a strong shock from which an economy recovers immediately. Our study shows that economic productivity after El Niño is compressed for much longer than just the year after the event,” explains Justin Mankin, study co-author and assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College.

“When we talk about El Niño in the United States, for example, it means that the kinds of impacts and damage that we will see from landslides and floods they are not protectedeithers for insurance used by households and businessesMankin points out.

And he adds: “In California, 98% of homeowners do not have flood insurance,” he says.

Other impacts on the economy of the countries will be the damage to the infrastructure due to the heavy flooding, which can cause an irruption in the food supply chain.

To this is added huge crop losses by floods or droughts.

Strong winter?

But in North American countries, should people be worried about a very miserable winter this year due to El Niño?

Not necessarily. Although El Niño can bring periods of extreme weather to North America, it doesn’t always.

According to DeWitt, during El Niño, the air currents that usually push warm waters toward the Pacific Ocean they weaken on the western sideallowing these warm waters to drift eastward and spread over a larger area of ​​the ocean than usual.

This leads to much wetter air over a warm ocean that disrupts air circulation in the atmosphere around the world.

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In North America this means having a much drier and warmer than normal winter in Canada and the northern US states, while the south can have a wetter winter.

El Niño also reduces the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, but can lead to more hurricanes on the Pacific coast.

But these effects depend entirely on the intensity of the El Niño that produces them.

DeWitt warns that states in the southern US are most likely to experience devastating effects, including heavy rain and potential flooding.

This is because they have been subjected to the effects of the drought left by another phenomenon, The girlfor three consecutive years.

“Often what happens during El Niño is that when the rain comes, it happens very quickly. This can cause landslides in areas affected by drought or by forest fires, which can also be devastating,” he noted.

According to the scientist, dry soil loses the ability to retain waterwhich can lead to landslides.

The strong El Niño intensity that affected the California area in 1998 and 2016 led to devastating floods and landslides.

The same phenomena produced huge snowstorms in the state of New England (in the northern US) and tornadoes that caused several deaths in Florida.

Change of plans

But the changes in weather patterns that El Niño brings have other problems as well.

Diseases due to infections they become more prevalent in areas where conditions favor the appearance of insects and other pest-spreading animals.

A study done on the effects of El Niño in 2015 and 2016 found that disease outbreaks became between 2.5% and 28% more frequent.

And the increase was recorded in even more cases of hantavirus, which is produced mainly by rodents.

During El Niño a lot of heat and moisture travels from the tropics to the poles.

“When humidity increases at higher latitudes, it traps more thermal infrared radiation which leads to warming. This is what we call the greenhouse effect,” says DeWitt.

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Even a temporary break of the 1.5°C threshold due to increased emissions and El Niño this year, as predicted by the World Meteorological Organization, could cause widespread suffering for all.

According to a recent study from the University of Exeter in the UK, limiting long-term global warming to 1.5°C could save billions of people from dangerous heat exposure (i.e. an average temperature of 29°C). or more).

Current policies are projected to generate global warming of 2.7°C by the end of the century, which could leave two billion people exposed to dangerous levels of heat around the world, the authors note.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C would mean five times fewer people living in dangerous heat and would help prevent climate-related migration and detrimental health outcomes, including pregnancy loss and impaired brain function,” says Tim Lenton, co-author of the study and director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter.

There is concern that as carbon emissions continue to rise, future El Niño events could push global temperatures above the 1.5°C threshold. more and more frequently.

“Every 0.1°C really matters,” says Lenton. “Every 0.1°C of warming that we can avoid, according to our calculations, is saving 140 million people from exposure to unprecedented heat and the damage that comes with it.”

“We would be saving hundreds of millions of people from harm and that should be a great incentive to work harder to get to zero emissions“.

Keep reading:
· Popocatépetl: the most dangerous active volcanoes in the world
· Global warming will exceed crucial limit of 1.5ºC by 2027, experts say
· What consequences would the scarcity of snow have for life on Earth?

See original article in BBC

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