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What drives hot spots of sea-level rise?

As sea levels creep up around the world, scientists have observed hot spots where regional rates of sea-level rise greatly outpace the global average. But what drives the formation of these hot spots, and how long they last, have been mysteries. In a new study, scientists tracking sea levels along the Florida coast suggest that the combined effects of two naturally occurring climate processes, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), control sea-level hot spot formation along the U.S. East Coast.

01 Dec 2017

Trans-Niño years could foster tornado outbreaks

Individual tornadoes can’t be predicted, but new research relying on both historical records and meteorological computer modeling suggests that severe tornado outbreaks may be linked to specific weather patterns during so-called Trans-Niño years.

08 Sep 2013

La Niña could set the stage for flu pandemics

In 1918, the Spanish flu spread around the world, claiming between 50 million and 100 million lives — more than 3 percent of the world’s population. The previous fall and winter, La Niña had brought cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures to the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. More recently in 2009, swine flu swept across the planet. Again, the widespread outbreak was preceded by La Niña conditions. This link might be more than coincidental, according to new research, and could lead to improved predictions of future pandemics.

26 Mar 2012

Voices: Climate change and civil conflict: New clues from El Nino

In 2007, 11 retired admirals and generals from the U.S. armed forces published a report arguing that global climate changes represented a major threat to global security. That same year, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon argued in a Washington Post op-ed that the ongoing Sudanese civil conflict was, in part, attributable to climatic changes. By combining new techniques from climate physics and econometrics, my colleagues and I have found evidence that there is some truth in these statements. Indeed, the global climate can influence the outbreak of civil wars.

09 Sep 2011