El Niño phenomenon leaves negative effects for the world economy
A two-year study found that the climate effects of El Niño could leave a significant cost to the world
The economic consequences of the weather phenomenon known as El Niño can persist for several years and cost trillions in lost income around the world,
As researchers from Dartmouth College emphasize in the journal Science, in the years in which it occurs, the strip of warm ocean water that stretches from South America to Asia, known as El Niño, triggers far-reaching climate changes that cause devastating floods, crop-killing droughts, plummeting fish stocks, and an uptick in tropical diseases.
With El Niño expected to return this year, the researchers report that the economic cost of this recurring weather pattern can persist for several years after the event itself, costing trillions in lost income around the world. The study is one of the first to assess the long-term costs of El Niño, and predicts losses much higher than those estimated by previous research.
El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, the natural cycle of warm and cold temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean that includes its cooler counterpart, La Niña. El Niño events alter weather patterns around the world and, in the United States, typically result in wetter, warmer winters on the West Coast and a milder hurricane season on the Atlantic Coast.
The researchers spent two years examining global economic activity in the decades after the El Niño episodes of 1982-83 and 1997-98, finding a “persistent signature” of slowing economic growth more than five years later.
The world economy bled $4.1 and $5.7 trillion respectively in the half decade after each of these events, most of it at the expense of the poorest nations in the tropics.
Researchers project global economic losses in the 21st century to reach $84 trillion as climate change potentially amplifies the frequency and strength of El Niños, even if current commitments by world leaders to reduce emissions are met. carbon. They calculate that only the El Niño phenomenon forecast for 2023 could slow down the world economy by up to 3 trillion dollars between now and 2029.
(Reference image source: Kyle Glenn, Unsplash)
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