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El Nino Events to Double by End of Century, Experts Say Carbon Emissions to Blame

A new report is detailing the likelihood that extreme changes in weather patterns and events will become more likely in the years ahead, citing carbon dioxide emissions as the primary factor.

The report was published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change and detailed that the occurrence of El Nino warming events known as could double by the end of this century as a direct result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

The weather events typically develop in the eastern equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean and affect ocean currents and weather patterns. Climatologists have stated that atmospheric heat is stored in the ocean, which will continue to affect Earth's climate more dramatically as that stored heat is released.

"The present day's moderate El Niño becomes an extreme event in the future," explained climate modeling expert Wenju Cai, who is also the lead author of the Nature paper. Cai is based at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia.

The study used 20 different climate models-- half of all models currently available today-- to observe rainfall patterns of the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean. The research focused on two periods: 1891 to 1990, which acted as a control set, and a predictions set which used years 1991-2090.

El Nino events where shown to decrease within the control time period, which occurred roughly every 20 years. However, the intensity and frequency of such occurrences increased to once every 10 years by 2090, 17 out of 20 climate models showed.

"I've been at this long enough to know that you have to look at everything five times before you are entirely convinced, but I like the paper. It's a very promising analysis," climate scientist and ocean-atmosphere interactions expert Davin Neelin said in a statement.

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