The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization has issued a warning that an El Niño weather event could occur in the next three months. El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon that brings unusually warm and nutrient-poor water to the Pacific Ocean near the equator, creating temperature changes that can cause extreme weather around the world. According to the UN, there is a 75 to 80 percent chance of a weak El Niño event forming in the next few months. The last El Niño was in 2016—the hottest year on record. The coming El Niño is not predicted to be as strong. “Even so, it can still significantly affect rainfall and temperature patterns in many regions, with important consequences to agricultural and food security sectors... and it may combine with long-term climate change to boost 2019 global temperatures,” said Maxx Dilley, director of the UN’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation branch. Though El Niño is a natural occurrence, research suggests its effects are made worse by human-caused climate change.
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