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New research suggests El Niños may be getting more intense

According to a new study of 33 El Niños dating back to 1901 and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, climate change appears to be making the events stronger by shifting their hottest conditions west of the International Dateline over time. This can cause more extreme weather by shifting the regional atmospheric patterns, leading to both more droughts and more floods. This is important for the Southeast because our main driver of climate variability here is the phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. If we are in the El Niño phase, winters tend to be cool and wet; if in the opposite, La Niña, winters are more often warm and dry as the jet stream shifts northward away from the Southeast. This has implications for the following growing season because we need winter rain to build up our soil moisture leading into April and the start of the planting season. You can read more at Yale Environment 360 here.