Babbage: El Niño is back, and he looks angry

Extreme weather is constantly in the news, but a new factor is just getting warmed up: El Niño. This Pacific Ocean phenomenon can have devastating effects in some parts of the world while benefiting others; it is linked to droughts as well as floods; and this year’s looks like it may be severe.

Maarten van Aalst, a professor of climate and disaster resilience at the University of Twente, explains how the current El Niño will affect the climate in unpredictable ways. Chris Funk, the director of the Climate Hazards Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, looks at global effects that are already under way. Plus, the harrowing tale of Jack Egan, who lost his home to bushfires in Australia during the last El Niño event. Catherine Brahic, The Economist’s environment editor, and our correspondent Rachel Dobbs consider how prepared countries are for this event. Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor, hosts.

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