Building in the Pacific Ocean is what’s thought to be a “Godzilla” El Niño — a radical warming of the waters that will cause weather and possibly political, social and economic disruptions worldwide of epic proportions.
Californians have been hoping and praying for El Niño to deliver the state from years of drought. And in fact, the Sierra Nevada mountains this week received much appreciated snowfall, amounting to about 16 inches in some places. That’s good because snow in the mountains will melt in the spring and help replenish drought-suffering reservoirs in the state.
California residents who have suffered through one of the worst droughts in history may get to dial back the extreme water conservation measures that have been in place to get people through the scary conditions. Wildfires that consumed millions of acres of forests and homes this year also are hoped be a thing of the past.
But the massive El Niño, which has moved more to the east in the Pacific Ocean is expected to generate horrible floods in some parts of the world such as the United States and parts of Central and South America and terrible droughts in other places such as Ethiopia, and parts of India, Africa and Southeast Asia, where crops could die, and famine is expected to follow.
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United Nations officials ahead of the world climate summit starting Monday in Paris are warning that just in southern Africa, 11 million children are threatened with hunger, disease and a lack of water. The political and social effects of the environmental changes could stoke violence and more world conflict, including even more people globally fleeing war-torn countries and more areas ravaged by climate change.
Health experts also warn of outbreaks of such disease as cholera, typhoid and other diarrheal diseases that can result in areas ravaged by floodwaters, the Los Angeles Times reports.
These are the kinds of things that Pope Francis has warned people about in his cries for the nations of the world to act now to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels. Francis said this week while visiting Kenya, “It would be sad, and dare I say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and interests.”
Climate change fueled by greenhouse gases from human consumption of fossil fuels has caused global ice caps to melt, oceans to rise, shorelines and beaches to be threatened, and the weather to be more extreme and violent. El Niño has taken on “Godzilla” strength, and storms now are like Hurricane Patricia, which was among the strongest ever.
Further warming of the planet is expected to worsen conditions for humans and other species particularly in more impoverished nations such as Guatemala, which has suffered from a horrible drought.
It is beyond time to start protecting the planet.