Risk of Civil War Increased Dramatically By El Nino


Photo: super devoika

Scientists are suggesting that the warmer weather that occurs every four years through El Nino has a domino effect on poorer tropical societies, which can cause civil war. It's no secret that unfortunate weather conditions such as drought can lead to unrest, but the link to El Nino adds another dimension to the argument. Scientists are suggesting that 1 out of every five civil wars has in fact been caused by El Nino, according to Reuters.
Crises and conflict are associated with warmer weather and El Nino specifically.

According to Reuters:

This pattern can cause large crop losses and increased risk of natural disasters like hurricanes and the spread of infectious diseases, study co-author Kyle Meng of Columbia University's Earth Institute.

This impacts job markets, creates inequalities, and highlights weaknesses in societies. Unemployed people are more likely to cause unrest.

Again, Reuters:

Peru in 1982 and Sudan in 1963, 1976 and 1983 showed remarkable links between El Nino patterns and civil unrest, the researchers found. Other countries with a strong link between violence and El Nino include El Salvador, the Philippines and Uganda in 1972; Angola, Haiti and Myanmar in 1991, and Congo, Eritrea, Indonesia and Rwanda in 1997.

What is an El Nino? An El Nino is marked by warmer than usual temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific (Pacific Ocean around the Equator). It's caused by the trade winds, which blow from east to west around the Equator, weakening. When the winds aren't blowing from east to west, piling water up in the Western Pacific, this part of the ocean warms.

These increased ocean temperatures can have a number of consequences including increased rainfall in Peru and the US at the same time as drought hits the West Pacific. This can cause flooding in one part of the world and devastating brush fires in another. It's a weather shake up that seems to be happening more as the climate warms, according to the article.

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El Nino Explained, Plus Common Misconceptions

Tags: Drought | Global Climate Change

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