El Niño is coming – and global economies could lose trillions of dollars

El Niño years are difficult: they come with an increased likelihood of occurrence diseases Toxic algal blooms, drought conditions. in a new study published Writing in the journal Science, the researchers investigated how the financial losses of this cyclical global shift could last for years and result in trillions of dollars lost.

El Nino It is characterized by rising ocean temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and weakening trade winds, a combination that changes global weather patterns. It can last anywhere from a few months to just over a year, although this is not a hard rule, according to the National Weather Service. In the new work, the researchers examined global economic activity after the two El Niño periods of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998. They looked at economic growth before and after those events and especially at GDP in the years that followed.

“El Niño events consistently reduce economic growth,” the study authors wrote.

The world lost $4.1 trillion and $5.7 trillion from the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 El Niño events, respectively. The data also indicates that some countries could see economic effects for up to 14 years after an El Niño event. By looking at past El Niño periods and subsequent economic impacts, researchers project that the global economy could lose about $84 trillion in total by the end of this century.

Christopher Callahan, Ph.D. A Dartmouth student and lead author of the study said that although he expected many countries to be affected by El Niño conditions, the financial losses were greater than expected. “There was no guarantee when we went into this study that the numbers would be as large as they are. We didn’t know how long the El Niño effect would last. It was a real surprise to us and a real indication that our economies and societies are more sensitive to climate change than we previously realized.”

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The color scale indicates the shift of percentages in GDP as a result of the 1997-98 El Niño, from the highest gain (blue) to the highest loss (red).

The study looked at each country’s overall economic growth, but not specific sectors or regions. Callahan told Earther that they had drawn from previous work they considered Economic effects that will mess with the nation’s GDP. “We know that heavy rainfall in Peru and Ecuador can damage infrastructure,” he said. “We know that there are droughts and forest fires in Indonesia and the Philippines during El Niño. Those can reduce labor productivity. We know that agricultural disturbances are closely related to El Niño.”

The study found that El Niño events are most likely to affect the gross domestic product of low-income countries in the tropics. For example, modeling has shown that “Brazil’s GDP per capita would have been 5% greater in 2003 if the 1997-1998 El Niño had not occurred.”

“High-income countries also suffer significant negative impacts,” the study noted. This is especially true when high-income countries experience more rain or more drought due to El Niño.

According to NOAA, An El Niño phenomenon is on its way to form by the summer. This event could cost the global economy $3 trillion by the end of this decade, the Dartmouth Collective notes launch About the study. The World Meteorological Organization said this week that a combination of pollution and conditions from El Niño has a high probability of making… The next half of the decade will be the warmest period on record.

According to Callahan, there are still questions about how climate change will affect El Niño and La Niña years. He stressed the importance of reducing emissions and conducting more research on how climate change is altering global cycles.

“Going forward, and thinking about the impacts of climate change on El Niño and tropical climate, we need to get a better handle on how these processes will evolve and what climate change will do to them to deal with what these future costs might look like,” he said.

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