State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

What Does El Niño Mean, in 3.4 Seconds

This year’s strong El Niño event—the warming of east Pacific waters that drives rainfall and drought around the globe—already has had a big impact, and it’s likely to continue for awhile, though some effects may have peaked. Still ongoing: a wet winter in the southern U.S., the mid-Atlantic coast and California.

Scientists at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society took a moment from their work (a very brief moment) to answer the question, “What does El Niño mean?” The sum of their comments, with a dose of humor, paints an interesting picture of the climate phenomenon.

You can learn more about El Niño at the institute’s El Niño Essentials and El Niño Impacts web pages.

And to watch researcher Tony Barnston deliver the December forecast, link up here.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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