Cliché as it may be to say, winter is coming, and with it, could be extreme weather phenomenon according to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization. The UN agency predicts a 75-80% chance of an El Niño event, which means warmer Pacific Ocean waters that could therefore cause extreme weather events around the world this winter.

As The Independent reports, the beginning of 2019 could bring with it extreme weather like droughts and flooding. According to science correspondent, Josh Gabbatiss, “The most recent El Niño event ended in 2016, and was associated with catastrophic coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef as global temperatures reached the highest levels ever recorded.” Gabbatiss continues:

Scientists have been predicting the likelihood of such as event since May, with the chances gradually increasing as the year progresses.

The UN agency said that ocean temperatures have already reached weak El Niño levels in parts of the tropical Pacific, although the atmospheric patterns that accompany these changes have not yet materialized. Forecasters in the US and Australia have already warned of an approaching El Niño.

Chances of dry conditions and drought will increase in nations from the Caribbean to southern Africa, while heavy rainfall will likely hit parts of the US and Europe.

Read the full article on The Independent.

Meanwhile, see below for more of the latest major environmental news, and listen to our latest podcast here, which enters the high-stakes debate over dams.

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