El Niño Archives - State of the Planet

Researchers Say an 1800s Global Famine Could Happen Again

The Global Famine was one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, killing as many people as World War II. A new analysis suggests it could happen again, only worse because of climate change.

by |October 12, 2018
brown wheat in field

Does the El Niño Southern Oscillation Actually Matter for Food Security?

And why should we care what causes a drought?

by |July 27, 2018
drought great famine

What Caused the Great Famine?

Scientists are unraveling the driving forces of one of the worst environmental disasters in human history, in hopes of predicting and preparing for the next global drought.

by |December 15, 2017
snow snowman winter

How Will La Niña Affect Winter in the U.S.?

This phenomenon can cause major changes in climate patterns. See what’s in store for your region.

by |November 15, 2017

What’s in the Forecast and How Do We Know?

The Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society makes probabilistic forecasts for rainfall and temperature for the next six months. How does it do this?

by |July 12, 2017

Rising Temperatures Lead to Increased Fire Risk in Indonesia

A new paper shows that rising temperatures have increased the risk of fires even during non-drought years in Indonesia, possibly making mild fire seasons in the country a thing of the past.

by |May 1, 2017

Columbia, Princeton Scientists Share 2017 Vetlesen Prize

S. George Philander of Princeton University and Mark A. Cane of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who untangled the complex forces that drive El Niño, the world’s most powerful weather cycle, have won the 2017 Vetlesen Prize for achievement in earth sciences.

by |January 24, 2017

Forecasting Climate, with Help from the Baobab Tree

To improve climate forecasts, scientists study the complex interactions and mechanisms within the climate system. But they also need to hear from potential users of climate information, such as farmers, to get a better understanding of how people may use that information in their decision making.

by |June 21, 2016

Learning from El Niño as La Niña Odds Rise

Although El Niño is weakening, its ramifications continue to be felt around the world. Drought and resulting food insecurity is one of the major implications for southeast Asia, eastern and southern Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. Sixty million are in need of emergency relief today, according to the United Nations.

by |April 28, 2016
Staghorn coral showing signs of bleaching. Sarah Depper/CC-BY-2.0

Bleach Patrol: Turning Surfers into Scientists to Help Coral Reefs

With coral bleaching spreading, a new project and app called Bleach Patrol is putting surfers, divers and snorkelers to work as citizen scientists, keeping an eye on the world’s coral reefs.

by |March 4, 2016