New Study: Why Does El Niño Cause Floods in Some Places and Droughts in Others?

A new study,”Resolving contrasting regional rainfall responses to El Niño over tropical Africa” by Columbia Water Center researchers and recently published in The Journal of Climate asks why El Niño causes drought in some parts of the tropics and excessive rain and flooding in others. The authors conclude that the answer has to do with the local timing of the rainy season as it relates to the phase of El Niño, and they explain a physical mechanism for why this might be so. They also suggest that understanding how El Niño causes either drought or flood could help scientists predict the longer-term impacts of global warming.



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