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Discovery News

El Nino May Bring Civil Unrest This Winter

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When an unusually powerful El Niño struck in 1997, civil conflicts erupted across the tropics, from Sudan to Peru — as floods, droughts and fires devastated crops, fisheries and livelihoods.

It wasn’t an isolated case, suggests growing evidence that links El Niño’s extreme weather with a spike in violent conflicts in tropical regions. As one of the strongest El Niño events in recorded history gains steam this fall, some experts are warning of the potential for more unrest to come – and the urgent need to take preventive action.

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Some fairly nutty and violent weather can occur during El Nino years.
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“Half the world’s population is exposed to a higher risk of violence this year,” says Solomon Hsiang, professor of public policy at Berkeley. “Now that we know what to expect, we shouldn’t necessarily sit back and watch sparks fly. There are a lot of things we can do.”

Civilizations That Withered in Drought

Collapses of entire civilizations have been linked to climate shifts, with examples that go back centuries. The Little Ice Age in the mid-1600s, for example, has been blamed for widespread wars and political crises that occurred around much of the world at the time.

 

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